Did you know each year, U.S. fire departments respond to an average of 150 home fires caused by Christmas trees and 790 fires caused by Christmas decorations? No need to worry! The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) and the National Christmas Tree Association have tips to keep you and your family safe this holiday season.
Picking the Tree
- Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
- Choose a tree that fits the space in your home.
Placing the Tree
- Ensure the tree is at least 3 feet away from any heat source, such as fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents, or lights.
- Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
Lighting the Tree
- Use lights that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use.
- Do not use lights with frayed wires, broken cords, or loose bulb connections.
- Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
- Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving the house or going to bed.
Caring For a Natural Christmas Tree
- Cut a 1/4″ to 1-inch” thick disc of wood from the base of the trunk before putting the tree in the stand.
- Displaying trees in water in a traditional reservoir-type stand is the most effective way of maintaining freshness and minimizing needle loss.
- Add water to the tree stand as soon as possible. Add water daily, and always keep the trunk in water.
- As a general rule, Christmas tree stands should provide 1 quart of water per inch of stem diameter.
- The National Christmas Tree Association provides detailed information on tree care here.
Dispose of the tree after Christmas or when it is dry. A dried-out tree is a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage or placed outside against the house.
Not sure how to dispose of your tree? Lexington has a recycling program for natural and artificial trees and lights.
Natural Christmas Trees: January 3 – 27, 2024
- Remove all lights and decorations. Place at the curb on your regular collection day, from January 3 through January 27, 2024. Natural trees will be composted at the city’s composting facility.
- Fayette County residents without curbside city service can take their natural trees to the Haley Pike Waste Management Facility.
- The Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources also has drop-off sites for natural Christmas trees at various locations, including Jacobson Park. Christmas tree drop-off sites will be open from December 26 through January 15, 2024. Check the Fish & Wildlife website for locations and more information.
Artificial Christmas Trees
- Those with city service can break down their artificial trees and place them next to your green trash cart at the curb on your regular collection day.
- Artificial trees in good condition can be donated to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.
- Visit Lexington Habitat for Humanity ReStore for details.
- Lights cannot go in curbside recycling carts or mixed recycling dumpsters. They get tangled in equipment, causing delays and damage at the Recycle Center.
- String lights, extension cords, light sensors, power strips, timers, electric candles, other electronics, and household batteries can be taken to the city’s Electronic Recycling Center year-round. The center is located at 1306 Versailles Road.
- Collection bins will be available throughout Lexington beginning Tuesday, November 21. The collection will end on January 14, 2024. See the list of collection locations here.