Each year an estimated 33 million natural Christmas trees will be purchased, but not all natural trees are treated with a fire retardant. To protect you and your home from a tree fire, the National Fire Protection Associates — nfpa.org — reports the leading causes of Christmas tree fires:

Electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in 38 percent of home Christmas tree fires. Eighteen percent involved decorative lights. Wiring or related electrical equipment were involved in 12 percent, and cords and plugs were involved in 5 percent.

Nine percent were started by someone, usually a child, playing with fire. Candles were responsible for 8 percent of home Christmas tree fires.

So what can you do?

Choose Christmas decorations, artificial trees, dried trees and displays that have been treated with a flame retardant.

If you prefer a natural Christmas tree, make sure all the loose needles have been removed and the tree has a water source at its base. Refill the water container daily.

Check holiday lights and extension cords for frayed or damaged cords and discard any damaged strings of lighting. Do not attempt to tape or repair the cords. Use only UL-approved cords, lights and fixtures and comply with the labels marked for "Indoor" or "Outdoor" use and use the cords and lights appropriately.

Do not place a tree or decorations near a heat source or candles.

Unplug all holiday lighting when sleeping or when away from the home.