If you have a fireplace, then you know how well it can serve as a focal point for all of your holiday decor. People just seem drawn to fireplaces – and who can blame them? That warm, flickering flame gives off an aesthetic that’s hard to beat.

But putting tinsel, garland, and other things that are prone to ignite near the flames of your fire feels a bit… questionable. Is this okay? How can you decorate your fireplace so you still feel the spirit of the season, just… without having to stress about fire hazards? Well, we’re here to help. Follow our tips and remember to book your annual chimney inspection before lighting anything up this season. Call or book with us online now.

How Far Should My Christmas Tree Be From My Fireplace?

The standard rule for how far a Christmas tree – or any holiday decor for that matter – should be from a fireplace is at least 3 feet. This is the recommendation of the National Fireplace Protection Association (NFPA), as well as just about any chimney technician or fire safety expert you would ask.

infographic asking how far a christmas tree should be from a fireplace (3 feet)

Other tips for keeping your Christmas tree free of flames?

  • If it’s a real tree, keep it watered.
  • If it’s a fake tree, ensure it’s flame-resistant.
  • Make certain your tree is stable and not prone to tip.
  • Educate family members on fire safety.
  • Don’t put real candles on your Christmas tree.
  • Don’t use lights with frayed or damaged wires.
  • Unplug your Christmas tree before bed and before leaving your home.
  • Ensure your tree isn’t blocking any exits.

What Can I Safety Put On My Fireplace Mantel?

  • Snow globes: Since snow globes are made of metal and glass, they make a perfect, flame-resistant fireplace decor option.
  • Candles (cautiously): Festive, nice-smelling candles make a solid edition to any fireplace mantel. Just be careful because the wax is prone to melt! That means that long stick candles might not be your best option. In fact, our big recommendation is to go with LED candles – that way you stay safe while still getting that cozy aesthetic.
  • Flame-resistant decor: Nowadays, it’s not difficult to find decor that’s labeled as “flame-resistant.” Opt for these decor options when you can to minimize the risk of flames as much as possible.
  • Other glass/metal/stone items: Any material that’s naturally resistant to catching fire is a good decor choice. Just remember that, though they aren’t prone to ignite, they can get very hot, so be careful not to touch them until you know they’re nice and cool.
  • Sturdy decor items: Any and all of your decor near the fireplace should be sturdy – and not prone to fall off your mantel. This could easily lead to accidents if it falls too close to your fireplace fire.

What Shouldn’t I Put On My Fireplace Mantel?

  • Anything flammable: Okay, this is probably pretty obvious, but we’d be remiss not to mention it. If any of your decor is made of paper, cardboard, wood, or anything else that is known to easily ignite, leave it well away from any flames.
  • Decor with cords: Anything that needs to function off electricity should be avoided. Or, at the very least, make sure any cords are secured and not near your firebox opening. Loose cords also make people more likely to trip – not something you want near a fire.
  • Lots of decor: Don’t overcrowd your mantel. Fortunately, minimalist decor and aesthetics are currently in! Stick with the times and remember that, especially when it comes to decorating your mantel, less is more – or at least safer for your household.
  • Valuable or sentimental items: This is less to do with safety and more to do with ensuring you’re not left sad or broken-hearted this holiday season. Don’t risk putting something meaningful near your flames.
  • Unstable decor: If a door shutting makes an item fall off your mantel – and near your fire – then it doesn’t belong up there.
  • Interactive decor: Who doesn’t love a singing Santa or a dancing reindeer? And we’re always up for a good advent calendar that reveals a new surprise every day of December. That said, anything interactive should be set up away from the fireplace to ensure no injuries might occur.

Is It Safe To Hang Stocking on the Fireplace Mantel?

This is a common – albeit tricky – question. Who doesn’t want to hang their stockings on the fireplace mantel? And don’t numerous Christmas songs, stories, and poems encourage just this? It’s a classic tradition that never seems to be a problem, so is it that big of a deal?

Here’s what we’ll tell you: Yes, you can hang stockings on your mantel – just be sure to remove them before lighting your fireplace.

It’s really the best – and safest – compromise.

red snowman stockings hung on a white fireplace mantel

For Quality Chimney & Fireplace Services, Rely On Us

Good safety practices are important to implement in your household, especially if you have a fireplace, but not everything can be done by the homeowner. Your chimney inspection and sweeping, for example, should always be completed – annually – by a certified chimney technician! We’d love to help you out.

Give us a call at 830-620-9130 or book your appointment online now.