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5 Holiday Decoration Safety Tips to Consider

Published: November 2017

One of the most enjoyable parts of the holiday season is decorating your home. From the twinkle of holiday lights to the smell of fresh pine needles, holiday decorations can create a festive, fun and memorable season in your home.

Unfortunately, these decorations may potentially cause injuries or pose as fire hazards, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Help protect your home and family this holiday season with these five decoration safety tips:

Video Transcript

'Tis the season!'

It's fun to make your home festive for the holidays but before you do, here are some safety tips to follow.

When it's time to decorate your tree, only use flame-resistant materials, and never use lit candles on your tree.

After you pull your holiday lights out of the closet, recycle any strings that are broken.

Look into local recycling projrams to find one near you.

You should also avoid overloading outlets and power strips with holiday lights.

Take care of your fresh tree and make sure it's well watered.

A dry tree can be a fire hazard.

And be sure you don't put your tree or other flammable items close to your fireplace.

Keep your tree at least 3 feet from sources of heat.

Never leave the house or fall asleep with your holiday tree lit or your outside holiday lights on.

Also, be careful you don't have holiday decorations blocking any exits.

And when decorating the outside of your home,. only use lights and extension cords specified for outdoor use.

Following these safety tips may help the holiday truly be the most wonderful time of the year.

For more seasonal tips, head to


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1. Choose Fire-Resistant Decorations

Be smart about the decorations you choose to showcase. Vintage holiday decorations made from paper, lace or fabric may look beautiful, but may often be flammable. Display your vintage decorations away from any heat source, including candles, holiday lights and the fireplace, says the National Safety Council (NSC). If you have an artificial holiday tree, you may want to confirm it is labeled as fire-resistant before decorating, adds the NSC.

2. Consider Battery-Operated LED Candles

Candlelight can help make the holidays special. However, open-flame candles can be a fire hazard. Instead, consider using battery-operated LED candles and never go near a tree or wreath with a lit candle, lighter or match, says the NSC.

3. Don’t Overload Your Extension Cords

When stringing lights, you may be tempted to overload extension cords. Never plug in more than three light strings into one extension cord, says the CPSC. Also, you should always unplug lights when you are not home and turn off the lights when you’re going to bed, adds the CPSC.

4. Keep Your Tree Fresh

Dried-out holiday trees can be a major fire hazard in your home, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). When selecting your tree, make sure it passes the shake test. Your tree should be sticky to the touch and when shaken, minimal needles will fall, adds the NFPA. This may help ensure that your tree is fresh. When setting up your tree, place it at least 3 feet away from a heat source to help prevent your tree from drying out too fast, says the NFPA. The NFPA also recommends you water your tree daily.

5. Don’t Block the Exit

In your excitement to squeeze as many special decorations as possible into your home, it’s all too easy to potentially block a doorway or exit. Remember, in the event of a fire, every second matters. Make sure that your holiday decorations don’t block doors or otherwise hinder your ability to quickly and safely exit your home.

Following these decoration safety tips can help you celebrate your holiday traditions with an extra sense of security.

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Our pages are filled with helpful tips and information about the topics that most of us face in our everyday lives. We focus on safety and maintenance issues with regard to your home, auto, apartment, motorcycle, boat, small business, finances and more. Please recognize that a particular tip may not be effective in every circumstance and that taking preventive measures cannot guarantee any outcome. We encourage you to use your own good judgment about what's appropriate for you and your property and always consider safety.
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