Are you a person who insists on a real Christmas tree?  If so, there are some very important safety tips to follow so that your holiday doesn't turn into a devastating loss of your home due to a Christmas tree fire.  The American Christmas Tree Association has some simple rules to follow to keep any fire at bay this holiday season:

- Try to get as fresh a tree as possible because the fresher the tree, the less likely it is to catch fire.  In my family, we like to go to a tree farm and cut our own.  It's a fun, old-fashioned tradition but guarantees a fresh tree. If you buy an already cut tree, you can test it for freshness by looking for vibrant green needles that are hard to pull off and don’t break easily from its branches. Look on the ground under that tree for shedding needles.  That's a bad sign that the tree is already drying out.

- Always place your tree away from heat sources like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights, and keep the tree base filled with water to avoid a dry out.

- Make sure all your indoor and outdoor Christmas lights have been tested in a lab by the UL or ETL/ITSNA for safety, and throw out any damaged lights. Any lights you use outdoors must be labeled suitable for exterior placement, and be sure re to plug them into a ground-fault circuit interrupter protected receptacle.

- Keep all your holiday candles away from your Christmas tree, surrounding furniture and décor.

- Bedtime means lights off! ­ Don’t forget to turn your Christmas tree lights off each night.

Below, is an example of how quickly and easily a Christmas tree can go up in flames and devastate your home.  This video is courtesy of the National Fire Protection Association.