COVID might have put the kibosh on big holiday gatherings, but it has not interfered with holiday decorations! Here are 6 ways to decorate safely for the holidays while making your home look extra festive this year.
Check your lights. Carefully inspect holiday light strings every year. Throw away any lights that have frayed cords, cracked bulbs, or loose connections. When replacing bulbs, always unplug the light string and be sure to match voltage and wattage to the original bulb.
Check your ladder. If you need to use a ladder to put up your lights or decorations, choose the correct ladder for the job - do not use one that is a little too short or much too large. This may cause you to bend or reach in a way that might cause a fall! Double-check for a certification mark to ensure your portable ladder complies with applicable standards.
Use appropriate cords. Remember to never connect more than one extension cord together. Instead, use a single cord that is long enough to reach the outlet without stretching, but not so long that it can get easily tangled or trip someone walking by.
Give candles plenty of space. While candles may look beautiful, they can quickly become a fire hazard. Give candles at least 12 inches of clearance on all sides. Make sure candles are displayed on sturdy bases or flat surfaces and consider covering them with hurricane globes or a similar glass covering for protection.
Don’t neglect the Christmas tree. Just a few days of heat and neglect can be all it takes to dry out a fresh tree. When picking a tree, make sure you pick one that’s healthy and has the least amount of brown needles. Pick a spot in your house for the tree that is shady so it will not get direct sunlight. When cutting the trunk, make a straight cut. This will ensure that your tree is able to get enough water. Make sure your tree always has enough water and always turn the tree lights off before you leave the house.
Decorate the hearth safely. Stockings and other combustible decorations, such as pine garlands or tinsel, can present a serious fire hazard. Be sure to remove them before starting a fire in the fireplace. Late fall is also a great time to have your fireplace serviced if you plan on using it throughout the winter! This is also a great time to test the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. If necessary, give yourself an early gift by upgrading to a smart smoke detector. There are even some models that can send you text or email alerts whenever they detect danger.
The best defense against holiday home problems is an offense. By taking a few extra precautions and decorating safely, you may avoid an expensive accident and a call to your home insurance agent.