Christmas Tree Safety Essentials

Christmas TreeUrsula Klawitter/Corbis
Short of a gym membership from your spouse, it’s the holiday surprise no one wants: the ornament-laden Christmas tree that tips over and crashes to the floor. Luckily, it’s easy to avert this annoying (and potentially dangerous) disaster. Just follow these suggestions, culled from all over the Web:

Invest in the right stand.
Ditch the flimsy crossbar type and pony up for a sturdier model. About.com likes Grinnen’s Last Stand ($45, xmas911 .com), which uses straps and ratchets to hold the tree straight and features a 30-inch base for added stability. Two other solid choices, recommended by suite101 .com, are the Omega Tree Stand ($40, buy.com), which replaces old-school screws with a clamping system, and the Krinner Christmas Tree Genie ($70 to $110, acehardware.com). The latter’s pedal lets you tighten a cable around the trunk.

Set up your tree properly.
According to the National Christmas Tree Association, you shouldn’t whittle or taper the trunk to fit the stand, as this makes it less stable and more difficult to hold upright. And be sure the trunk is straight before you screw, clamp, or ratchet it in place. (It’s a good idea to have someone eyeball it while you mount it in the stand.)

Anchor it if necessary.
If you’re using an old fashioned screw stand, consider weighting your tree or tethering it to the wall or ceiling. The blog Made It on Monday suggests placing a 35-pound flat weight on each side of the tree, as close to the wall as possible, and tying both to the tree with rope. (A tree skirt can help to hide them.) Or, reports helium.com, you can install cup hooks into the walls on either side of the tree and fasten the tree to them with clear fishing line. You can even insert a hook into the ceiling and anchor the tree with fishing line there, advises acmehowto.com.

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