Reminder: Neglecting to Water Your Christmas Tree Could Be Hazardous

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The holidays always bring additional responsibilities, like pie-baking or negotiating dead-end conversations with relatives. Popular Mechanics would like to remind you that before you even think about shopping, eating, or singing, you really need to water your Christmas tree.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), keeping your live tree well-hydrated can prevent a living room blaze that could engulf both your seasonal spirit and your curtains. Dry Christmas trees are essentially as flammable as a newspaper, and the results can be devastating when they ignite. Here's a video that shows how big the difference is between a well-watered tree and a dry one when it comes to fire. It is harrowing.

The CPSC recommends that trees have water in their bases at all times, that you keep them away from heat sources like candles and furnace vents, and that you avoid using decorative lights that have frayed cords. And of course, don't forget to check those smoke alarms.

While we're discussing fire safety during the holidays, here's another warning: While it might be tempting to stuff your discarded wrapping paper in the fireplace to quickly dispose of it, you shouldn't do that, either. It can cause flash fires.

Have a safe and non-immolating holiday, everyone.