Tips for Safe Holiday Decorating

Christmas is a time of love and joy and family – and danger. Many of the jolly Christmas decorations you put up during the holidays come with risks. We want your holiday season to be a time of happiness, so we are providing some safety tips on how to keep safe while putting up Christmas decorations both in and outside of your home.

Lights – If you find fraying cords or broken/ missing bulbs on last year’s lights, it’s time to get new lights. Make sure your lights have the UL safety label. A green UL symbol is for only indoor lights, while a red symbol is good for indoor or outdoor use. We’ve all seen the tangle of holiday lights, plugged into extra extension cords and piggybacking on each other in a huge mess. Don’t do this. It’s definitely an electrical short waiting to happen, if not a fire. Finally, turn all lights off when you leave the home or retire for the night.

Tree – If you buy a live tree, get one as fresh as you can. The bottom of the tree should be sticky, and hardly any needles should fall off when you tap it on the ground. Keep it fresh by watering it daily, to help prevent fire. If you’re getting an artificial tree, make sure the label says “fire resistant.” Either way, don’t put the tree by fireplaces, electrical heating units, candles, or other sources of heat.

Candles – Use candle holders with a firm base, and make sure the candles are not close to anything flammable, including decorations. No matter how old fashioned of a Christmas you want, candles do not belong on trees, ever. As with the lights, when you leave the home or go to bed, put out all candles.

Ornaments – Put away the fragile glass ornaments until the kids grow up. Hang only unbreakable ornaments and those without small parts that could present a choking hazard.

Fireplace – Do not burn wrapping paper in the fireplace. It tends to flare up and can cause a flash fire. In fact, don’t burn anything but wood. This includes greenery. Decorate your Yule log any way you want, but when it comes time to burn it, leave the decorations out of the fireplace.

Outdoors – Use a safe ladder to hang outdoor decorations. It should reach higher than the place you are hanging lights or decorations, so you don’t lose your balance while hanging them. Use the buddy system. Have somebody support the base of the ladder until you are safely down. Don’t forget to turn off outdoor lights and decorations when you leave and at the end of the evening.

Those of us at Baldwin Woodville Insurance wish you and yours a happy, safe holiday season!