BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — We all love to see a roaring fire during the holidays, and sometimes, we’ll roast marshmallows and chestnuts over an open flame. However, most of us would prefer that the fire stays in the fireplace… an idea that seems to become more important as Christmas draws near. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Christmas Day and Christmas Eve are among the leading days for home fires in the United States.

“December is a leading month for home fires, in large part because many of the activities we engage in during the holiday season reflect leading causes of home fires year-round,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “Plus, as colder temperatures impact much of the country, use of heating equipment increases significantly.”

Below is a list of facts about some of our favorite Christmas decorations and features and the fire risks they pose. Be aware of any households dangers before decking the halls!

Christmas Trees

  • An estimated average of 160 home fires involving Christmas trees cause two civilian deaths, 11 civilian injuries, and $12 million in property damage over a four-year period (2016-2020).
  • Tha majority of Christmas tree fires occur in December and January.
  • Some time of electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in more than two of the five (44% of home Christmas tree fires. 19% of Christmas tree fires were started by decorative lights.


  • An estimated average of 790 home fires began when decorations caught fire caused an average of one civilian death, 26 injuries, and $13 million in property damage per year during a four-year period (2015-2019).
  • One in five home decoration fired occurred in December.
  • Around the year, 35% of home decoration fires began with candles. This number increased to 45% in December.
  • In 44% of all fires involving decorations, the decoration was too close to a heat source such as a candle, heating, or cooking equipment.


  • An estimated average of 7,400 home fires begun by candles caused an average of 90 civilian deaths, 670 civilian injuries (6%), and $291 million in property damage per year over a four-year period (2015-2019).
  • Candle fires peak in December and January, with 11% of all candle fires taking place during each of these months. Christmas Day is the peak dfay for candle fires, with roughly 2.5 the daily average occurring.Christmas Even ranked second.
  • Falling asleep was a major factor in 10% of home candle fires and 12% of associated deaths.


  • Cooking is the leading cause of reported home fires — 49% of all home fires and home fire injuries are a result of cooking accidents, and they are the second-leading cause of home fire deaths.
  • Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve,.
  • Unattended cooking is the primary cause of most home-based cooking fires.

In addition to Christmas fire-starters, the second-leading cause of fires year-round are heating devices — which also increase during the winter months. Fortunately, the NFPA, in partnership with the US Fire Administration (USFA) has its own guide to dealing with this issue. Put a Freeze on Winter Fires helps educate the public on staying safe during the cold with tips, printable sheets, and other resources to help reduce the overall risk of fires started by winter hazards, including heating device-based fires.

The NFPA’s Winter Holidays page offers more advice to help reduce the risk of fires during this time of year. For more information about holiday fire prevention, as well as NFPA initiatives, research, and resources, visit the page here.