The gutters are cleaned. The leaves are gone. The turkey’s been eaten. Now what? Winter holidays. There are things to think about both inside and out as you decorate for the holidays.
We live in an era where electricity helps to brighten the spirit of the holiday, because really who doesn’t like a good light display? There are potential lighting hazards both inside and out. I’m not here to tell you how many lights are too many or how many are too few, but I do have some tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission for lighting.
– Indoors or outside, use only lights that have been tested for safety. Identify these by the label from an independent testing laboratory.
– Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Discard damaged sets or repair them before using.
– Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house, walls or other firm support to protect from wind damage.
– Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord.
When you’re hanging the outdoor lights make sure you have help. A helper can assist in making sure the ladder is stable and they can hand you lights or other decorations instead of you having to bend over to get them.
If you have an extension cord or power strip inside for lights or other holiday decorations again make sure you don’t overload the circuit and try to make sure it’s against the wall. Having it against the wall helps to prevent tripping for everyone and animals are less tempted to chew on it.
If you haven’t already considered switching over to LED lights. They use less energy and give off less heat. Less heat means less likely to overheat anything near them.
I’d say it’s a toss up between whether the lights or the tree are people’s favorite part of decorating for the holidays. We’ve talked about some things to think about with lighting, now what about the tree.
If you’re picking out a live tree here are some suggestions from CPSC to make the tree less of a fire hazard for longer:
– Make sure the tree is green. A green tree is a fresh tree.
– Fresh needles are hard to pull from branches.
– When bent between your fingers, fresh needles do not break.
– The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin.
– When the trunk of a tree is bounced on the ground, a shower of falling needles shows that tree is too dry
When you get your fresh tree home cut off some of the trunk to expose fresh wood for better water absorption and make sure to keep the tree well watered.
Also, if you have pets that are curious about the tree maybe take some thin guy-wires to secure the tree to walls or ceiling it help prevent situations like this
If your pets are anything like mine their nose is too the ground looking for something to chew on (I wish they weren’t like this, but they are), so look around and think about what might look like a treat or something they might want to taste test.
A few of the things that may cause pets discomfort or distress and should either not be used in your home or put where the pets can’t get to it are mistletoe, holly, and tinsel. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says holly when ingested can cause pets to suffer from nausea, vomiting and diarrhea and mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. Kitties love the tinsel because it’s sparkly and they can bat it around easily, but if it’s ingested it can leave them with an obstructed digestive tract or severe vomiting.
Candles left unattended are also a hazard with the pets. They can be knocked over and potentially start a fire. Use of appropriate holder help prevents that, as does putting out the candles when leaving the room.
These are just a few tips to help make your season bright and ensure that you aren’t laying around banged up because you fell off a ladder or don’t have a home because of a fire caused by a simple mistake.
Writer, Blogger, Mother & Homeowner