December 11th, 2019| Christmas isn’t complete without decorations, and that includes everything from the Christmas tree and stockings, to outdoor lights and wreaths. And while putting up holiday decorations can be a fun-filled, albeit time-consuming, activity, it’s important to note that it can also be dangerous if proper safety precautions aren’t followed. Unsteady ladders, toppling Christmas trees, and even defective lights can all turn even the most joyous holiday into a disaster. Don’t pull a Clark Griswold this Christmas—be smart and be safe by following our guide to safely putting up holiday decorations in, around, and outside your home.
8 Holiday Décor Dos and Don’tsWhen putting up your Christmas decorations this year:
- DO keep pets away from Christmas trees—Christmas trees are irresistible to pets, especially cats. They love nothing more than to climb their way to the top, knocking off ornaments and lights in the process—and sometimes, they even topple the entire tree itself. To keep your pets away from your Christmas tree, make sure the lower branches aren’t easily reached from the floor and that the tree isn’t positioned to close to furniture. In addition, avoid hanging shiny ornaments near the bottom, as they can attract pets’ attention.
- DO anchor your Christmas tree—Small children are another source of potential Christmas tree-related disasters. Anchoring your tree helps keep it upright even when “outside forces” push or pull it in a direction it shouldn’t go. Enclosing the area around your tree with a safety gate can also keep small children away from it, protecting them and your tree.
- DO test your ladder before hanging lights or wreaths—Hanging Christmas lights and wreaths outdoors completes the look of any home during the holidays, but it’s not a job for anyone with a fear of heights—or an unsteady and unreliable ladder. Always test your ladder to make sure it’s suitable for hanging lights and wreaths before you climb to the top, and always secure it on level, steady ground. Having someone hold the ladder can also improve your stability and safety.
- DO burn candles sparingly—The scent of holiday candles can be the finishing touch on a Christmas wonderland of a home, but candles are a major fire hazard. Light candles sparingly, and never in more than one room at a time to avoid losing track of them. In addition, keep lit candles away from the reach of small children and pets, and be sure to thoroughly extinguish matches and used candles before throwing them away.
- DO keep cords and cables away from walkways—Whether indoors or outdoors, make sure your walkways, including hallways and sidewalks, are free from loose or hanging cables and wires. Cords can be major trip hazards for your family and your holiday guests. However, take care to not twist, kink, or crush cords when moving them out of the way, as doing so can damage wiring and even create a fire hazard risk.
- DON’T buy the cheapest lights you can find—You can find Christmas lights everywhere nowadays, including supermarkets, drug stores, discount stores, and even thrift stores. And while it may seem that all Christmas lights are the same, there’s often a huge difference in quality, reliability, and safety among different brands. Cut-rate Christmas lights are not only dimmer and more likely to burn out than higher-quality lights, but they also may pose greater risks to you, your loved ones, and your home due to inferior wiring. Make sure any lights you purchase have the UL Listing Mark to ensure fire safety.
- DON’T buy small/glass ornaments and decorations if you have kids or pets—Ornaments are an essential part of decorating a Christmas tree, but they can also be one of the most dangerous parts of holiday décor. That’s because many ornaments are small enough to be choking hazards for children and pets. In addition, glass ornaments can be dangerous as they can shatter if they fall off trees, creating a risk of cuts or ingested glass.
- DON’T let your tree dry out—Synthetic trees can be reused year after year, but there’s something about the smell of a live tree that makes the extra preparation and setup time worth it. However, when buying a tree, be sure to pick one that was recently cut and that still retains moisture. When setting a live Christmas tree up in your home, keep it far from heat sources, including radiators, space heaters, and even warm lights that might cause your tree to catch fire. Finally, keep your tree watered, and be sure to dispose of it promptly when it begins to dry out.