Safe for the Holidays Article Series: Decorating Safety

Keeping the holidays merry, bright and safe!

Chilly weather, a cheery glow, holiday music in every store, the holiday season is here! One of the greatest joys of the holiday season is decorating. Brights lights, elaborate displays, and sumptuous plant arrangements line the streets, stores, workplaces and the homes of many. Holiday decorations invite happiness to this time of the year.Unfortunately, there are a sizable amount of hazards that are often overlooked throughout this time of year such as risk of fires, electrocutions, falls, etc. If you are selected to decorate your workplace or are decorating at home, you should consider the following safety precautions:

Christmas Trees

-When buying a live Christmas tree, look for a tree that has minimal amounts of needle shedding – this is a indication the the tree is hydrated.
-To further keep the tree fresh after purchase, use a tree base that allows for watering.
-Purchasing an artificial Christmas tree should be considered an investment. Opting for a better quality Christmas tree not only prolongs the the longevity of a tree but also is less likely to catch a flame.
-Regardless of a tree being real or synthetic, trees should be kept away from sources of heat such as space heaters and fireplaces.
-Always keep a fire extinguisher by a tree for added security.
-Christmas tree needles can be dangerous if swallowed causing choking or puncture the gastrointestinal tract.

Holiday Lights

-Before setting up lights of any sort, inspect them for any damages or repairs needed.
-Fix any empty light bulbs to avoid having the entire string overheat.
-Any lights (as well as extension cords) being displayed outside should be weather resistant and UL-rated.
-Never use staples or nails to hang lights, instead use safety certified hangers.
-Always unplug lights before going to work, going to bed or leaving the house for an extended period of time.
-Don’t overload power outlets and extension cords.
-Outdoor holiday lights should be on display for no more than 90 days to prevent any extra weathering and damage.
-The best way to store lights after the holidays is to wrap them loosely around cardboard, cover them with cloth or newspaper to protect the bulbs, and then kept inside waterproof containers.

Candles and Fireplaces

-Before using real flame candles consider using electronic flame candles instead.
-Candle warmers are a great alternative to lighting a candle wick for scented candles.
-Never leave an open flame unattended.
-Burning candles should be kept in an open area away from flammable items like curtains, decorations and plants.
-When using the fireplace, use dry, aged wood to reduce the amount of smoke produced while burning.
-Place a small safety fence in front of the fireplace to lower the chance of getting burned.
-Always keep a fire extinguisher nearby.


Most holiday plants like poinsettias, mistletoe, holly berries and jerusalem cherries contain toxic and irritating chemicals.
Households with small children and pets should consider using artificial plants.
Some plants are more toxic poisonous than others, be sure to have proper knowledge of any plants being displayed.
Be sure to keep both real and artificial plants away from heaters and fireplaces.

Other Decorations

-Whenever possible, use shatterproof ornaments.
-If using glass ornaments, take extra care to secure them to the tree.
-Small decorations such loose light bulbs, ornament hangers and removable parts should be kept out of the reach children and pets to avoid choking.
-Artificial Snow poses a threat of lung irritation if inhaled. Be sure to follow instruction carefully and keep the area well ventilated.
-Wear gloves when decorating with spun angel hair tinsel to avoid eye, and skin irritation.
-A good rule of thumb would be to keep anything small enough to fit into a pet or child’s mouth out of accessible reach.
-If hanging decorations in higher areas, use a sturdy, balanced ladder.

Though following these tips and guidelines will greatly reduce the risk of injuries, accidents do happen. The best measure to take is to always have a back up plan and action plan if something is to occur. It’s always best to be safe and prepared than sorry. This holiday season will be most enjoyable with having both safe and festive homes.

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