This video has been making the Facebook rounds and when I first saw it, it freaked me out a little (okay, a lot). Choosing a real Christmas tree is one of our favorite family traditions, but I certainly didn't want to be putting my family in danger. So I did a little research. Not Worry P0rn research but actual research. So let's look at the numbers.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, between 2007 and 2011 there was an average of 230 house fires started by Christmas trees per year. Now these fires were started in different ways. In fact, 20% were actually started on purpose (!?). But for the sake of argument let's use the highest estimate of 230 (even though I am pretty sure you are all smart enough to NOT set your tree on fire on purpose).
So 230 christmas tree fires a year. That doesn't really seem like a lot and it is even less when you consider how many American households have Christmas trees. According to the American Christmas Tree Association, approximately 94 million households in America have Christmas trees per year. Of that 94 million, 20% (18.8 million) choose to use a real tree. Now it is true that the risk of fire is higher with real trees but artificial trees can cause fires too. But again, for the sake of OVER estimating the risk, let's assume that all 230 of those annual fires were caused by real trees.
Now we can figure out the actual risk. Let's divide 230 (the number of Christmas tree associated fires per year) by 18.8 million (the number of households with real trees) and see what we get. Drum roll please . . . and remember we are OVER ESTIMATING . . . your approximate chance of a fire is 0.00001. That is to say, 1 out of 100,000. And that is a risk I am willing to live with. And if you want to lower that risk even further, don't set up your tree near a heat source (fire place/heat vent) and don't set your tree on fire!