The holidays are here, and many of you will ring in the season with decorations both outside and inside your home.

iStock_000001094388XSmallWhen it comes to inside decorating, Christmas stockings are always popular and often hung from a mantle above the fireplace.

We at the Chimney Safety Institute of America know the fireplace mantle is a prime stocking location since Santa Claus prefers to bring his gifts into your home through the fireplace chimney, but it is important that stockings and any other holiday items are hung or placed around your fireplace with the 3 Foot Rule in mind.

Under the guideline, the chimney industry and our partners at the National Fire Protection Association remind you to keep all combustible materials more than 3 feet away from your fireplace or wood-burning stoves.

We certainly understand the tradition of hanging stocking or garland from the fireplace mantle. After all, a home’s fireplace is one of those special spaces for families to gather. So if you still want to have the stockings up, simply remove them each time you plan to burn a fire. Think of a safe spot to relocate your decorations until the fire burns out and return them to the hearth when all the embers die off.

And when your family is together around the fireplace this holiday season, keep in mind tips we posted to the blog during National Fire Prevention Week that are aimed at keeping young children safe around the fireplace.

A little bit of planning can help make your holiday as safe as it is beautifully decorated!