A Jolly List of Guidelines to Decking the Halls Safely, Make Sure to Check it Twice

This blog post gives you a few tips and tricks on how to safely deck the halls this holiday season.

Thanksgiving has come and gone and you’ve had a little break from all the craziness that comes along with a holiday get-together. Now that you’ve taken a breather, it’s time take down fall decorations, get rid of those pumpkins and start decking the halls and preparing for the festival of lights. Decorating for the holidays is a bittersweet task. “Who wants to untangle the lights? Where are all of my extension cords? Can you grab the ladder out of the garage? Would fake snow be too much?” There are a lot of different things to think about while decorating and it’s easy to let safety slip your mind. That’s why we have put together a list of helpful reminders on how you can stay safe while hanging up the holly or lighting the menorah.

1.  When buying a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree will keep its color longer and its less of a fire hazard than having a dry tree like the Griswolds in National Lampoon’s Vacation which put the cat and family members at risk. It was a comical scene in the movie, but no one needs a live reenactment. 

2.  When buying an artificial tree, check for a “Fire Resistant” label. This indicates that the tree is more resistant to catching fire, although this does not mean it is 100% resistant. 

Those lights look cozy but they can get hot so it’s important to have a tree that can take the heat.

3.  Place tree away from heat sources. Fireplaces, radiators, vents, etc. Heat sources can quickly dry out live trees and increase the risk of flammability.  Plus, it’s no fun roasting chestnuts with pine needles poking your back. 

4.  New or old, check each set of lights for damage. Discard lights with frayed or bare wires, broken or cracked sockets, or loose connections and be sure there is a bulb in each socket.  No one likes buying new lights every year, but it’s better than buying new possessions! 

5.  Make sure lights have been approved and tested by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratory (UL). This information will be clearly displayed on the tag, this lets you know the product has been inspected for potential safety hazards. You wouldn’t buy a turkey that hasn’t been certified by the FDA, so why would you by lights without the necessary approval? 

6.  Check outdoor lights and extension cords for labels. Confirm that outdoor lights and extension cords have been certified and approved for outdoor use. 

7.  Turn off lights before going to bed or leaving your home. Leaving your lights on is a potential fire hazard. Use a timer to automatically turn lights on and off at specific times. Your neighbors get to admire your dazzling display all evening; don’t force them into wearing those silly sleeping masks when it’s time for bed. 

8.  Keep a screen in front of the fireplace while it is burning. This prevents any potentially hazardous items around the fireplace from getting too close and catching on fire. C’mon, the kids have been good this year; we don’t want to singe those stocking stuffers into coal.

9.  Do not burn wrapping paper in the fireplace. This could result in a flash fire. 

10.  Place cords and decorations in low-traffic areas to prevent tripping. Remember to place them out of the way so they are not walked on and avoid kinking, twisting or crushing cords. We’ll be stepping on enough jacks, dreidels and Legos this season, give your feet a break.

11.  Have a helper hold the bottom of your ladder. After selecting the correct ladder for the job, one that extends at least 3 feet over the working surface, have a helper hold the bottom of the ladder to keep it steady. This also makes for an opportune moment while you hang the mistletoe with the help of your sweetie, after you step off of the ladder of course. 

12.  Only allow one person on the ladder at a time. Make sure the ladder you are using can support both your weight and the weight of your decorations by checking the ladder’s maximum weight. You may not have your bikini body after all of those latkes and donuts; you don’t want a broken leg too.

13.  Keep candles on a stable surface. Place candles on a heat-resistant surface away from flammable items and where they cannot be reached by children, knocked down or blown over. 

14.  Don’t forget about your candles. Extinguish candles except for those eight in the menorah before leaving the room, leaving the house and going to bed.

15.  Have fun! Your home is going to look great!

Now, it’s time to turn on your favorite holiday tunes, throw some cookies in the oven (make sure you set a timer) and start decking your halls, happy holidays!


Consumer Reports http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2011/12/12-tips-for-safer-holiday-home-decorating/index.htm

CPSC https://www.cpsc.gov/PageFiles/121347/611.pdf

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