Anybody put real candles on the Christmas tree?

I’ll have my own Christmas tree for the first time this year, and I want to put real candles on it. I was wondering if anybody had any anecdotal stories about beautiful trees or houses burning down.

How long and how often do you light the candles?

It it possible do get a full-size potted tree, or would that be impractical? My thought is that it would keep the tree from drying out. What species are better?

Have you ever seen a pine tree ignite? I burned my tree once after the holiday season was done & based on the speed of ignition and heat produced, I would not want open flame anywhere near a pine tree that was inside my house.

There are plenty of horror stories involving trees with electric lights. Please don’t attempt this.

My grad school advisor was the Quintessential German Professor, accent and all. One of the customs he brought with him from Germany was the German Christmas Tree, complete with hand-made straw ornaments, and Christmas Lights that were miniature candles in holders. Combine that with a somewhat dried-out Christmas Tree and you have a recipe for disaster.

He was having a Christmas Party at his house, and somehow the tree caught fire. It went from non-burning to a wholly-lit torch in the blink of an eye. Fortunately, it was next to a floor-length sliding door/window, and there was a whole team of his grad students there to push it out into the snow outside.
It scorched a dark circle on his ceiling that’s still there.

The next year, the Tree was back, complete with handmade straw ornaments and candles. He hasn’t had a recurrence of that disaster, though. Maye he sprays down the tree, or something. There’s no way I would ever do this.

Is there something you can spray the tree with? The dryness is why I was thinking about a potted tree.

We used to back at the old house…

I’ve never done it, but a friend used to long ago. The drill is this:

  1. Cut down a tree on Christmas Eve. Do not buy one from a lot.

  2. Put the candles on it.

  3. Have a fire extinguisher handy.

  4. Light the candles.

  5. Say “Ooh, pretty!” for approximately 30 seconds.

  6. Extinguish the candles.

Even then, it seems like a good way to burn down a house.

If the Lord wants to put me and my loved ones on the barbecue, who am I to object? - After all it’s his birthday.

As a German I am used to real candles. I still spend christmas with my parents and after a bit of experimentation with fake trees and fake candles in the early 90s they returned to the real thing. When I have my own tree one day, I will do the same.
[li]Secure your tree properly. Consider tying it to the wall so it can’t tilt over.[/li][li]Select the locations for the candles carefully. You want nothing between a candle and the ceiling.[/li][li]Once it is lit don’t touch the tree.[/li][li]Never leave it unattended.[/li][li]Keep an eye on toddlers, pets and drunks.[/li][li]If possible have an extinguisher at hand.[/li][/ul]

Or tie it to a hook in the ceiling.
Let one adult find the places for the candles after everything else has been put on.
Buy selfextinguishing candles if you can get them, but still keep an eye on them.
If you don’t have an extinguisher keep some buckets of water close.
Yes, I do use live candles.

My family also uses live candles. Another important note is that you should avoid the tree-farm trees that have been pruned into perfect cone shapes. You need natural branches that stick out irregularly so you can place the candles a safe distance out.

You should also get high-quality candleholders. They often have a ball joint that connects the clip to the bit that holds the candle, and you want that joint to be secure. You also want the cup to be deep enough to hold dripping wax–not all candles burn cleanly.

Aside from that, I’ll second what kellner and Mikkel said.

don’t do it!

Go to somewhere that live pine trees grow; put candles on them. Have a fire extinguisher handy. I’ll bet when you go back home your house will be a smoking crater in the ground. This is a really dumb idea. The risk of burning down your home with you in it vs. 30 seconds of OOH! Pretty! are not worth it.

If possible have an extinguisher at hand? :smack: If you don’t have an extinguisher???? :smack::smack::smack:

Are you people insane?

Even if you put live candles on the tree, how could there be any question as to whether or not you would have a fire extinguisher close at hand?

No matter how you slice it, it’s a HUGE fire hazard. Putting real candles on a tree without one or more fire extinguishers easily available is unthinkably irresponsible. There is no way to justify it.

If you can afford to buy the candles…hell, if you can afford to buy the tree, you can afford to buy the fire extinguishers.

You can get trees that have their root ball intact. The roots are wrapped in burlap just like any nursery tree. The idea is that you can take the tree and plant it outside after Christmas. (This doesn’t work in all climates.)

Anyway, I’d suggest you don’t do it. It’s a tremendous hazard, and more importantly, you have zero experience with it. Maybe a guy who learned it at his daddy’s knee might know how to place the candles relatively safely and judge the dryness of the tree. You don’t. And you’re not going to learn it on the internet either. The risk for you far far FAR outweighs the reward.

don’t do it!! get artificial candles and pretend!

I appreciate all the concern for my safety. :slight_smile:

I heat with coal, and I have smoke detectors in every room and six fire extinguishers in the house. The tree’s position would be in the living room, about four feet from the front door.

These are the candle clips I’m looking at: D Blumchen & Company.

There is a product that can be use to flameproof wood. I use it at work, but it is a chemical and I can’t guarantee that the tree would survive a spraying of it.

Here it is.

Since we don’t celebrate Christmas (being Jewish) we have been invited for Christmas Day dinner several times by friends who are Austrian and French. The Austrian says she cannot imagine Christmas trees without candles. Several points can be made, mostly made above. The tree is quite fresh and planted in water. It is chosen so that the branches are irregular, leaving places where you can put a candle in the open with no branch above it. We have dinner and then move into the living room and only then light the candles. They are lit with care and we spend the next hour or so in conversation while watching the tree. Then the candles are carefully snuffed.

The result is certainly pretty. Is it worth it? Well, if I had a tree I couldn’t imagine doing it. But she has been living in North America for all her adult life (maybe 50 years) and hasn’t burnt down a house yet.

I’m not a real fan of that style; I prefer it when there’s a short stem between the clip and the cup. When the cup is attached directly to the clip like the ones in your link, you keep ending up with needles poking into the cup, so if a lot of wax drips into the cup, it tends to then wick onto the needles, which can lead to a mild fire hazard. :slight_smile:

Would you happen to know where I might find the stemmed style?

No idea, and frankly I’d love to find some myself. The ones my family uses are several decades old, and are starting to wear out.

Perhaps we could appeal to the German dopers, since they’re likely to have access to a better selection…