Decorating for the holidays is a great American pastime and holiday displays are becoming more elaborate every year. As much fun as it is celebrating the season, holiday decorating also accounts for numerous injuries and fires each year. Rule #1 of holiday decorating is to always have a fire extinguisher handy. The following tips are essential for safe decorating.


Always keep candles on a sturdy base that can’t be easily tipped over and never place them anywhere near flammable objects. Candles should always be monitored and never left burning if there’s no one in the room or at home. A good alternative are electric candles that aren’t reliant upon an open flame.


Using extension cords can increase the risk of fires. A home’s wiring can quickly become overwhelmed with the extra drain on the system. If breakers or fuses begin to trip it’s a good indication that electrical circuits are being overloaded.

Fake Food

A variety of plastic food and candy items are used for decorations during the holidays. Some are even enticingly scented. The fake food can be confusing to children and pets, so eliminate them entirely or place them where they’re not accessible to kids and pets.


Examine any lighted decorations for exposed wires, burned out or missing bulbs, loose connections, or damaged sockets. Throw away any lights that have damaged or frayed wiring. Individual bulbs can be replaced if desired – otherwise, throw them away. Always turn off or cut power to lighted decorations before going to bed or leaving the house.


To prevent injuries, choose unbreakable ornaments. Eliminate ornaments that use ribbons and similar items that children and pets can ingest.


Many of the traditional holiday plants used for decoration are poisonous to people and pets. Be sure to display them out of reach of young children and pets.


Stringing lights, erecting lawn decorations, and creating rooftop displays should always be done with another person. Don’t work alone. If an accident does occur, the other person can render aid or call 911.


Keep cut trees well-hydrated. They dry out quickly and can quickly catch fire. They should be kept away from heaters and fireplaces. If placed near furnace ductworks, they can dry out quicker and require more water. If an artificial tree is chosen, make sure it’s fire resistant.

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