We’ve all been to that house around the holidays. You know, the one with the decorations that kind of look like they were haphazardly thrown together by a kindergartener because your friend or relative just couldn’t wait to get everything up and on display. It’s nice when people get into the holiday spirit; even nicer when they take the time to follow safety precautions.
First off, make sure those festive lights aren’t a tripping hazard. You don’t want someone (or you!) injuring themselves because you were too lazy to properly string your lights. Make sure there aren’t cords running across the floor, and don’t try to plug too many lights into an outlet. According to Nationwide Window and Siding, “No more than three conventional strands of lights should be plugged into a single electrical outlet. Consumers should read the manufacturer’s instructions for LED lights to determine the number of lights that can be safely connected. To prevent cords from damage, clips should be used to hang lights rather than nails.”
Do not use decorative sprays or hang decorative materials on any fire protection equipment, near exits, emergency lights, or in walkways.
Don’t place your tree too close to the fireplace, vent, or radiator. If you have a real tree, make sure it’s filled with water so it won’t dry out. If you have an artificial tree, make sure it’s labeled “fire resistant.” The National Fire Protection Association estimates that each year an average of 240 fires involving dried-out Christmas trees result in 16 deaths and $13 million in property damage. Don’t forget to blow out those candles, either. An average of 13,000 candle-related fires are estimated by CPSC staff to occur annually, resulting in 170 deaths and $390 million in property damage.
Other holiday planning “don’ts” to keep in mind:
- Don’t go overboard with sparkly decorations (aka shimmer overload). Keep in mind that less can be more. A little glitz and glam goes a long way.
- Don’t feel limited to decorate in only red and green. Mix in gold, silver, purple, and dark blue.
- Don’t procrastinate! If you’re having a dinner party or holiday gathering, start early and have a plan. Make lists. Lay out the decorations you do have and take inventory of what works together, and what doesn’t. It’s ok to mix and match, and it’s ok to put away some of your everyday items in order to make room for the holiday decorations. And don’t spend too much time decorating a room where guests won’t be mingling. Focus on high-traffic areas.
- Don’t forget to take time to appreciate your hard work. It’s not just for your guests, it’s for you, too! Put in a festive holiday CD, plug in the twinkle lights, make a cup of cocoa, turn out the main lights, and enjoy.