As we get caught up in the Christmas spirit this Holiday season with decorating, shopping, cooking, hosting, and traveling, we might forget to make sure our home is protected against mishaps with Christmas decorations. Yes, Christmas decorations can be a hazard! According to The Electrical Safety Foundation International, 76% of Americans will decorate their homes for Christmas, and these decorations account for almost 2,000 fires and cause more than $41 million in property damage (NFPA). Faulty wires in lights, dry trees, unattended candles, and low hanging decorations on your fireplace can place your home at risk—even if you don’t realize it. Here are some quick tips you should check and make sure you’re following as you set up your home for Christmas.

Keep your tree hydrated and away from heat fixtures! A quarter of all Christmas tree fires are caused because they were placed too close to a heat source (like a fireplace). Anything near a heat source is a danger, but a dry tree creates an even more significant threat. Oh, and if you’re buying a fake tree, make sure it’s labeled as “fire-resistant”.

Power down your decorations before going to sleep. You don’t want your lights to get hot while you’re not around to monitor them. 20% percent of Americans do not turn off their decorations before bed; don’t be one of them!

Check your lights for wire fraying or any damage as this can cause an electric spark that can lead to a fire. Don’t use tacks, nails, or staples to mount the lights, or you could disrupt the wiring.

Waterproof all electrical connections to your outside decorations, and when hanging them, avoid using a metal ladder to prevent the possibility of getting shocked. Every year, hospital emergency rooms treat about 12,500 people for injuries such as shocks related to holiday lights (CPSC).

Keep poisonous plants away from pets! According to Blue Cross for Pets, Christmas trees are not deadly to your pets if ingested, but “The oils produced by some real Christmas trees are mildly toxic if consumed, causing minor irritation to a pet’s mouth and stomach.” Try to encourage them not to chew on your real or artificial tree, and attempt to keep cats from climbing them as this can knock off decorations.

Be safe this Holiday season!


“ESFI Holiday Decorating Safety.”  Electrical Safety Foundation International.

“Keep Your Cat Safe at Christmas.”  Blue Cross.

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