Christmas trees are one of my favorite parts of the holiday. I love the way they smell and look. My children are mesmerized by the lights and I am too. But a dry tree strung with lights poses a few fire safety hazards.
When buying a tree, loosely grip the end of a branch and pull your hand over it. Only a few needles will come off a fresh tree. Also have the vendor give it a fresh trunk cut - take off at least an inch. This will help the tree "drink" water - just like a very over sized fresh cut flower.
When stringing lights make sure all of the strands are healthy (no frayed wires) and are made for indoor use. They should be UL rated and be fire resistant.
Make sure to check the water levels in the tree stand daily and never, ever leave the lights on when you go to bed. I'm pretty sure Santa can see in the dark.