The “Peace on Earth” Guide to Holiday Decoration Safety

cat mesmerized by lights

Nothing puts you in the holiday spirit faster than a yard full of twinkling lights. But decorations come with their risks too! String lights can become a fire hazard if they’re not properly hung. And meanwhile, rooftop decorations pose some dangers of their own, especially if you’re not being safe when you put them up. Here’s how to avoid the threats when you put up the seasonal decor for a worry-free holiday!

hanging ornaments


  • Buy a fire-resistant artificial tree. Sorry, Christmas tree purists. The real thing just can’t match the fire protection of a verified fire-resistant artificial tree. Look for a label that indicates the tree is fire-retardant.
  • If you must go for a real tree, look for a fresh one. The fresher the tree, the lower your chances of your living room catching on fire. For maximum safety, purchase a live tree from a Christmas tree farm. Otherwise, look for pre-cut trees with bouncy, springy needles that stay on the branches when shaken.
  • Water real trees often. To keep your tree from drying out over the holiday, make sure to water it frequently. It will also keep it looking pretty and fresh too!
  • Display trees in a safe location. Christmas tree fires caused an estimated $14.8 million in property damage between 2011 and 2015. The lesson here is to put your tree up in the safest way possible. That means keeping it away from radiators, heating vents and fireplaces.

cat mesmerized by lights

  • Protect pets from holiday decor. Cats and Christmas trees are sort of like oil and water. That is, if one desperately wanted to attack the other. Keep kitties and all species of pets safe by anchoring your tree to the wall. And leave tinsel off the tree this year. Cats love to chew on it.
  • Check lights for safety. Before you hang any lights anywhere, check for fraying wires, cracked sockets and any other damage. Discard broken lights in favor of new ones.
  • Don’t overload extension cords. Don’t plug more than three sets of lights into the same extension cord. In other words, don’t pull a Clark Griswold.
  • Use heat-free LED candles as an alternative to the real thing. An open flame beside your Christmas tree or curtains? You’re pretty much asking for disaster. Instead, invest in flame-free LED candles for maximum safety. No one driving by will never know the difference!
  • Never climb on the roof to hang decorations. Use a ladder and keep two feet on it at all times. Nothing will ruin the holidays faster than putting your foot through the attic ceiling.

There you have it: everything you need for the most peaceful holiday yet. Now if only there was a guide like this for surviving your relatives!

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