Spending time with family is one of the most important parts of Christmas, and making our homes cheerful and inviting with great smelling candles, festive decorations, and holiday lights is a beloved household tradition. In the chaos of holiday entertaining, it can be really easy to get so distracted with everything that we forget how hazardous some of our decorations really can be if we don’t use correct precautions.
Here are some Christmas safety tips to help make certain that your Christmas decorations are merry, bright, and most important of all, safe for your family and friends to enjoy.
1. Do not leave your lights on unattended
You need to turn off your holiday lights any time you won’t be around to look after them. So, if you’re leaving your home for any reason or going to bed, make sure that you turn off the lights before doing so. If this feels like too much of a hassle, you can find lots of different products that simplify it, such as remote controls that will let you turn off the lights by touching a button or you can look into Christmas light timers.
2. Look into using LED lights instead of incandescent lights
LED lights are a little bit more expensive but are a much safer choice for both indoor and outdoor lighting. This is because they produce very little heat, this makes them perfect for holiday decorations. They also use 75% less electricity and last up to 25 times longer.
3. Be very careful where you place candles
I know it is nice to have warm candlelight flickering away. It makes for a nice cozy winter evening. However, candles are can be dangerous. This is especially true if you have pets or kids who might accidentally knock it over. You will need to place lit candles above the reach of wandering tails and small hands, and well out of the way of type of flammable materials like wrapping paper or curtains. You can always try flameless candles to prevent possible fires and burns.
4. There is a difference between indoor and outdoor lights
Even though indoor lights are normally cheaper, do not use them for your outdoor lights. Indoor lights are not as sealed against moisture like the outdoor lights are. This makes them hazardous for wet winter weather. If you don’t know which type of lights you have, check the label or throw them out and purchase new lights.
5. Don’t overload your outlet
The number of light strings you can connect together will depend on both the maximum watt capacity of your house circuit you plug them into and the strands’ wattage. You will need to do a little bit of math to figure out what is and is not safe. If you are worried about your math skills and calculating that number incorrectly, a pretty good rule of thumb is to keep each outlet to only three strands of lights at the maximum. You can also consider using a power strip with a built-in circuit breaker instead of your wall outlet for some more added protection.
6. Get rid of old lights
Although it is nice to pass down holiday heirlooms, old light strands from years ago can be very dangerous. Today’s lights are much safer to use as they have fused plugs that will prevent sparks in the event of a short circuit.
7. Fasten down all outdoor light strings
Winter winds can catch and blow down outdoor Christmas light strands, causing potential electrical hazards. Fasten your lighted decorations to firm objects to keep your lights secure and where they belong. Also fasten indoor lights so they are out of reach of pets. This will help in avoiding chewing mishaps that could result in accidental electrocution.
8. Don’t use electric lights on metallic trees
Shiny aluminum and tinsel Christmas trees are becoming more popular, but if you are considering a metallic tree, don’t use electric lights or decorations on it. Your tree can easily become charged with electricity. This will give a real “shock” to anyone who touches it.
9. Be smart while using extension cords
Outdoor lights can pose a safety risk if your extension cords are low enough to the ground to become wet. Make sure to keep the cords dry and use surge protectors to minimize damage that can happen.
10. Your Christmas tree can become a fire hazard
A scary fact is that Christmas trees are the leading cause of house fires during the holidays. While there are some benefits to a real tree, artificial trees are the safer choice to make. The majority of artificial trees are made with fire resistant materials which make them much safer to light and decorate. If you do decide to go with a real tree, make sure it’s fresh when you buy it and you will need to keep it well watered. If your tree dries out, it is not safe to keep in your home and should be removed from your home immediately.
Whether you go big or keep it simple with your Christmas decorations this season, your number one priority needs to be protecting your family and home. Follow these Christmas light safety tips to help you enjoy a safe and happy holiday.