Winter holidays are a time for families and friends to get together.  But that also means a greater risk for fire.

One-quarter of home decoration fires happen in December, and more than half of those are started by candles.

Sioux Falls Fire Rescue Division Chief Jeff Helm. "This is the time of year when people light candles and enjoy watching them.  Candles and the holidays go together. We recommend you use battery operated candles.  If you're going to use real candles, first and foremost---don't leave them unattended and make sure there are no combustibles around them."

Regarding Christmas trees, Jeff Helm suggests you choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall when touched.  "Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.  Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.  Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed!"

It's also important to test your smoke alarms!