Garland and stockings are classic fireplace decorations during Christmas, but to keep your family as safe as possible, you may need to take a different approach when decking the halls. When you pull out the Christmas decorations this year, keep these safety tips in mind.  

1. Keep flammables a safe distance from the fireplace. 

To minimize the risk of fires, make sure to keep all combustible objects several feet from the fire. This includes stockings, presents, garland, trees, and any other decorations. You need to ensure if an ember flies out of the fire, it won't catch anything. 

2. Invest in a modern fireplace. 

Modern fireplaces are designed to be safe. If you have an old fireplace, consider upgrading to a newer, safer model. Or, take stock of any risks in your fireplace and address them promptly. 

For instance, you should have a grate over the fireplace opening so you don't have to worry about flying embers. 

3. Look for fire-resistant decorations.

You can add some additional security by looking for fire-resistant decorations. This can help increase your peace of mind. 

However, just because something is fire-resistant doesn't mean that you can display it near the fire. You still need a healthy distance between the fire and the decor. 

4. Don't invite Santa when the fire is roaring. 

You might want to hang stockings for Santa to fill on Christmas Eve. But if you do so, make sure the fire is not burning. This safeguards your stockings from accidentally catching fire, and it also (wink, wink) makes it possible for Santa to get down your chimney. 

5. Clean the chimney regularly. 

Whether you're expecting Santa or not, you should clean out your chimney at least once a year. This ensures that no build-up risks catching fire. You can also burn creosote cleaning logs or use sprays to keep the chimney clean in between professional cleanings. 

6. Keep your safety equipment handy.

In case something does go wrong, make sure that you have a fie extinguisher relatively nearby your fire. Also, make sure that everyone in your home knows how to use the extinguisher. As soon as kids are old enough to stay by themselves, they should know how to use this equipment. 

7. Recycle, don't burn wrapping paper. 

Even though it's tempting—don't burn your wrapping paper. It's lightweight and may easily turn into floating embers. Most wrapping paper also has toxins that shouldn't be burned. Recycle it instead. 

Contact a fireplace company near you to learn more.