Dec 24, 2016

Playing It Safe: Avoiding Safety Hazards While Making Your Home Holiday-Ready

For many people, digging the holiday décor out of storage and making your home a beautiful holiday sanctuary is one of the best ways to get into the holiday spirit. Few things are more satisfying than carrying on family traditions that your mother and grandmother taught you, yet many of those traditions may pose some safety risks. Here’s how to identify potential risks when making your home holiday-ready and choosing safer alternatives without sacrificing tradition. 

Avoiding Fire Risks with Live Trees 

For many families, going out and exploring a tree farm and carefully selecting the perfect tree to decorate your home for the holidays is an annual tradition. Real trees are beautiful and add a fresh pine scent to your home, but they also come with some safety concerns – particularly, the risk of catching fire. When placing your tree, make sure it’s at least three feet away from any heat source such as candles, fireplaces, heat vents, radiators, and any other source of heat. 

A moist tree is far less likely to catch fire, so the key is to water your tree daily. Keep an eye on live trees throughout the season, checking the needles for brittleness. If needles snap and break off easily, that’s a sign that your tree is drying out and needs more water. If you enlist the services of a housekeeper, make sure they know this is something you’d like them to keep an eye on. 

Choose Safe Options for Decorating the Tree

Many years ago, it was a tradition for some families to place lit candles on the Christmas tree, a serious safety risk for obvious reasons. Avoid using real flames near the holiday tree, particularly if you are using a real tree that has had time to dry out. 

Even regular lights can be a safety hazard on the tree, so read the packaging carefully and be sure to use lights that are rated for use on Christmas trees. Never use lights that have frayed or damaged wires on or near the tree. Finally, if you have pets who are intrigued by shiny objects, choose shatterproof bulbs and ornaments to avoid a mess (and possibly a cut foot). Shattered ornaments tend to break into hundreds of sharp, tiny shards that are difficult to clean up. 

Stay Safe Decorating on the Roof 

Going all-out for your outdoor décor can result in a beautiful holiday masterpiece, but getting all those lights and other décor properly affixed near the top of your home is a treacherous feat. Use caution when climbing ladders, and choose a non-metal ladder. Metal conducts electricity, which can spell disaster if your wiring goes awry. 

If you can avoid it, don’t climb onto the roof in snowy and icy conditions. Slipping and falling off the roof can result in serious injury, and you don’t want to spend the holidays in the hospital. 

Choose Safe and Eco-Friendly Options for Outdoor Décor

Slips and falls from the rooftop aren’t the only risk associated with decorating outdoors. You should also clean out your gutters before stringing up lights around the roof to avoid fires, and always choose lights that are rated for outdoor use. 

If you want to save a few bucks this year, opt for LED lighting to reduce your energy consumption. LEDs consume up to 75 percent less energy and last up to 25 times longer than traditional lighting options. 

Plan Parties with Safety and Functionality in Mind

Throwing a holiday party? There are safety options to consider when planning get-togethers during the holiday season, too. Do any of your guests have allergies or other dietary restrictions? Be sure to ask all invitees before you’re ready to prepare or order food and beverages for the event. 
Make sure to have a clear path to and around the food and beverage area, as this is where party-goers tend to gravitate. If you’re facing inclement weather, have a coat rack placed near the entrance. Too much clutter can lead to accidents as the evening wears on, particularly if any of your guests have over-indulged. 

The holidays are a joyful time of year filled with many traditions that have been passed down through generations. Whether you’re decorating a real Christmas tree, decking out the exterior of your home, or planning the party event of the year, these safety tips will help you keep tradition without jeopardizing safety. 

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