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The first Christmas trees were decorated with candles. Tiny fires lit all over a dry, dying tree? Talk about an insurance risk.

Not surprisingly, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries Christmas tree fires occured frequently in the U.S. Homes, churches, stores, and even a Chicago hospital in 1885 fell victim to Christmas tree fires. Fires happened so often that newspapers would report on the season’s first Christmas tree fire as casually as the first snow of the season, says Bloomberg View.

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