Christmas is full of traditions including Christmas decorating, food, parties, stockings hung on the mantle, and Christmas trees. You and your loved ones should be able to enjoy the festivities without fear of an accident and trip to the emergency room.

Top 10 Christmas Decorating Safety Tips

Use these Christmas decorating safety tips to keep your family safe.

Fresh Tree Buying Tips

Conduct a stress-test to ensure that you are purchasing a fresh, strong tree.

1. Check that the needles do not fall off easily and don’t snap when bent
2. Check for strong limbs that only drop a few needles when shaken
3. Choose a tree whose trunk bottom is sticky with resin

Tree Placement Safety Tips

Whether fresh or artificial, keep your Christmas tree at least three feet away from fireplaces, heating vents or radiators. Do not block entryways or high traffic areas with your tree.

Hang Christmas Ornaments Strategically

Keep your children and pets safe from breakable or toxic ornaments by placing them high on the tree or on a high shelf. Instead of using metal hooks to hang ornaments, try ribbon or string to avoid a choking injury.

Keep your Fresh Christmas Tree Watered

If you have a fresh Christmas tree in your home, check the water levels everyday and house it in a base that can hold adequate water. A moist tree is less likely to ignite in case of a fire. A simple tug of a tree branch to test for breaking needles can let you know whether your tree is well hydrated.

Ladder safety

Ladders have the potential to cause serious injuries. While hanging decorations from your roof or trim, use a ladder that extends at least three feet over your roofline or working area. Always place the ladder on firm, level ground, and directly under where you are working to avoid leaning over.

Check for the UL Label

Only buy lights that show the Underwriters Lab (UL) code on the box, as these have been tested for safety. A red label means lights are good for indoor or outdoor use and green means indoor-use only.

Plug-Ins & Outlets

Light up your Christmas lights with a power source that comes from a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet. This type of outlet adds safety because it will shut the circuit down if there is over-current. If you don’t have a GFCI outlet you can purchase a portable unit for under $20. Be careful to conform to acceptable wattage levels when connecting lights through extension cords to avoid overloading the circuit.

Check for Damaged Electrical Wires

Check all electric lights and decorations before plugging them in to see if they’re damaged or worn. A cracked socket, frayed or bare wires and loose connections could cause a fire or an electrical shock.

Keep your Chimney & Fireplace Clean

Have your fireplace and wood stove inspected annually and cleaned if needed to avoid a dangerous buildup of soot. Avoid throwing used wrapping paper into the fireplace as it could cause a flash fire.

Candle Safety

Keep candles away from flammable items such as curtains, bedding, or paper. Blow out candles if you are leaving the room and keep them out of reach of children. To prevent heat damage to your counter, dispose of candles once they reach two inches of wax. As a safer alternative, try battery-powered LED candles.

Holiday Clean-Up

Thoroughly sweep or vacuum the floor after disassembling your Christmas tree and other decorations; look out for metal hooks, broken glass, electrical cords, and pine needles.

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