Keep your holidays disaster-free with these decoating safety tips from Domestic CEO.
Oh, Christmas Tree
Whether you choose a real tree or an artificial one, each has its own set of safety rules to follow:
- If using a pre-lit artificial tree, take time to inspect as much of the light wiring as you can. Generally, the wiring should be fine, but as your tree ages, so do those wires. If you store your tree in an attic or garage, the climate can actually take a toll on the wires, causing them to become brittle or broken. When in doubt, use new lights on your old pre-lit tree, or purchase a new tree.
- If you prefer a fresh, real tree, don’t buy it too early. Trees can dry out quickly (especially in places like Phoenix, Arizona, where I live), so look for the freshest possible tree you can find. When shopping for a tree, grasp a tree branch and pull towards you; if lots of needles come off, move on to the next tree.
- Once home, saw off about 1 inch from the bottom of the trunk, so you’ve got a fresh cut that can absorb water more efficiently.
- Keep fresh trees away from sources of heat like fireplaces, heaters, heat vents, and direct sunlight. Lowering the room temperature will also help slow the drying process, resulting in less water consumption each day.
- Inspect strings of lights before putting them on the tree. Look for cracks, breaks, loose lights, and frayed edges; all of these are potential fire hazards. Throw those lights out and opt for a new string.
- Check the water level on your live tree daily. A well-watered tree will last much longer. And since a dry, brittle tree is a huge fire hazard, also do a daily check to see if any needles fall easily off the tree when you run your hand over the branches. Take any tree in this condition down - or risk a fire!
- Do not display candles on or near a Christmas tree. That’s just asking for trouble!
- Turn off the Christmas tree lights when leaving your home.
While I absolutely love the glow of burning candles during the holidays, I think candle safety is hugely important.
I had my own learning experience with this a few years ago, when my best friend had her Christmas wedding in my backyard. We had lovely, tall hurricane lanterns displayed all over the backyard and patio, with beautiful candles burning in each one. What we didn’t think of was that adults (yup, not the children!) would not pay attention to where these candle holders were displayed. One woman backed right into one, and we watched as her leather jacket almost went up in flames!
Avoid any candle-related emergencies with this tips:
- When using candles in a display, such as the one I just mentioned, opt for battery-operated flameless candles. I know these aren’t as aesthetically pleasing as real ones, but hey, it’s better than a torched guest!
- If children will be present, keep candles high and out of reach. I don’t care how well-behaved the kids are, a flame and melted wax are just too tempting not to get close to. This is true with teenagers, too!
- I like to set candles deep within a candle holder or jar rather than using tall, tapered candles that are out in the open. Again, containment adds one more level of safety.
- Keep candles displayed in areas where guests won’t be moving around. I do not use candles on a food buffet for fear of someone either bumping them or knocking something into the flames. Give serious thought to candle placement, especially when guests will be involved. This also applies to homes that have children or pets - just one wrong move can start a fire.
Taking these extra safety measures won’t add that much time to your holiday preparations, so be sure to take each necessary step to ensure a safe and happy holiday season!
Photo of holiday lights safety courtesy of Shutterstock.