Getting an early Christmas tree? Follow these safety tips

Published: Nov. 25, 2020 at 3:33 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 26, 2020 at 7:46 AM EST
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WILLISTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Holiday cheer has been hard to come by this year, so that might mean setting up decorations and maybe even buying a tree earlier than usual. So what does a Christmas tree farm look like in a pandemic and how can we keep our homes safe this holiday season? Our Kayla Martin went to Isham Family Farm in Williston to find out.

“We have Christmas music playing, we have cookies, and Coke, free cocoa,” said Mike Isham, the fifth-generation owner of the Isham Family Farm.

Christmas tree sales are underway but this year, because of COVID, they won’t be doing any of that indoors. Everything will be done outside instead.

“We have two windows open for outside sales, trying to get through people quicker,” Isham said. “Our hours are much longer this year. We are allowing people to set up appointments during the week. If they want to come in on off-peak times.”

Heidi Larocque and Kyle Gray did. They live in Colchester and set up an appointment to get a tree as soon as possible. Something to change their moods.

“Probably the Christmas spirit, need it for happiness, definitely because this year’s just been crappy for us all,” Larocque said.

“We’re stuck in the house so might as well bring some Christmas cheer to it,” Gray said.

Farmer Mike Isham showed them the new process that included receiving a saw and roaming around the farm on their own. They said they like this new process.

“It was very quick and easy. You just go up and pick your tree, cut it down, or you can just pick one that’s in the lot, and then he helps you wrap it up, put it on,” Larocque said.

“It’s really nice being here by ourselves. Yeah, it’s very easy. It’s kind of weird but it’s pretty cool,” Gray said.

If you are planning to get your tree early or already have, like Larocque and Gray, there are a few things you need to know.

“Your trees, you know, think of them like an athlete. You know when an athlete is training and working, it’s important to hydrate and trees are important to hydrate. Very important to get them in water,” Isham said.

Keeping your Christmas tree alive until the holiday shouldn’t be an issue but having that tree in the home for an extended amount of time could pose some safety concerns.

“The major problem we run into is if folks let their trees dry out, it’s, in essence, the equivalent of having a few gallons of gasoline sitting in your livingroom or wherever your tree is,” said Prescott Nadeau, the public information officer at the Williston Fire Department.

To make sure you have a safe holiday season Nadeau has a few safety tips:

  • Water your tree every day, a couple of times a day.
  • Make sure your lights either have a sticker from underwriters laboratory. It will have their initials UL or another trusted testing laboratory. This will make sure they are safe to begin with.
  • Make sure old lights don’t have frayed ends or broken bulbs.
  • Place your tree at least 3 feet away from any heating source.
  • Don’t block an exit of any kind.
  • Turn off the lights either when you go to bed or leave the house.
  • And make sure your smoke detectors are working.

Having a live tree can be fun, and it’s a great way to support the local economy. Just make sure to take safety precautions to protect you and your family this holiday season.

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