Time to Decorate, Inside and Out

The time for Christmas Decorating is upon us.  The weather is looking good for the next week, this is the perfect time to decorate your home, inside and out.

As always, we are very conscious of safety.  Here are some great tips to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable time preparing for your holiday season.

Make sure your tree is fresh.  This means that needles do not pull off easily, the needles do not snap when they are bent in half, the limbs are strong and only a few needles drop off when shaken.  Look for a tree that has a bottom that is sticky with resin.  This will be the start for your perfect tree.

Keep your tree away from heat sources. Make sure your tree is a good space away from fireplaces or heater.   Keep a fire extinguisher near your tree.

Share a drink, with your tree! Water is the best for a tree.  Make sure you check your tree every day and add more liquid when needed. A dried-out tree can catch fire faster than one that has been properly watered.

Artificial trees are now difficult to tell from real trees.  They are less messy too.  Be sure your tree is labeled “fire resistant.” Fire-resistant trees are less susceptible to catching fire.

Strategic placement of ornaments.  If you have children or pets be extra careful when decorating your tree.  Hang unbreakable and larger ornaments on the lower branches and small (choking hazards) and breakable ones on the top.  Ribbons and string are a better alternative for hangers than metal hooks.

Buddy Up when stringing lights and decorations.  Make sure you use a proper ladder with someone supporting the base and that your ladder is on level, firm ground.  Always have three points of contact with the ladder.   

Double-check your lights for safety. Replace any lights with frayed wires, broken sockets, and loose connections.  Look for the UL safety label on your lights.  A red label means you can use them inside & outside and a green label means indoors only.

Lights off before you go to bed. Turn off all lights inside and out when you go to bed and before leaving the house to avoid a short that could start an electrical fire. You can also purchase a timer to turn the Christmas lights on and off in case you forget.

Prevent electrical cord damage. Don’t mount lights in a way that might damage the cords and avoid using nails or tacks. Use hooks or insulated staples instead.

Use the proper outlet.  Outside your lights should be plugged into a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).  This is the outlet with the reset button on it.  If there is a power surge the breaker inside the box will trip and power off. 

Tie down your inflatables.  Make sure that each blow up is secure as per the manufacturer’s instructions.  Turn your fans off when it is windy or when you are away.  This will reduce the chance that Frosty goes dancing down the street.

Secure candles. Keep candles on a sturdy base to prevent tipping. Never leave a lit candle unattended.

Don’t burn wrapping paper in the fireplace. Paper can catch fire very quickly and can cause flash fires. Instead, recycle (or better yet, reuse!) your wrapping paper.

Beautiful but deadly. While festive, poinsettias are poisonous when eaten, so keep them out of reach of kids and pets.

Be happy, be safe, have fun and enjoy the upcoming Holidays!