Holiday Decorating – Safety Tips for Homeowners

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With all the lights, Christmas trees, candles and snowmen erected in our homes this holiday season, it is important to remember some key tips to keep you home safe. We’ve gathered a few tips for a few “areas” of home holiday decor. Post a comment if you have any other tips to share!

Indoor/Outdoor Lights:

  • Don’t leave lights on while you’re sleeping or away from home. If you tend to forget, use a timer.
  • Don’t plug more than three light strings into an extension cord.
  • Don’t use metal staples or nails as fasteners for lights. This can damage the protective insulation covering the wires.
  • Don’t run extension cords across sidewalks or driveways.
  • Do make sure the lights and extension cords you use outside are certified for outdoor use and are plugged into a ground fault circuit interrupter outlet.
  • Do keep decorations and ladders away from overhead electrical lights and power lines.
  • Do follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on how many strings of lights can be safely connected together.


  • If you plan to buy an artificial tree, make sure that it is clearly labelled “fire retardent.”
  • To make sure a fresh tree stays less of a fire hazard, choose one that has needles that are hard to pull off the branches and that the trunk is sticky with resin.
  • Place trees away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources.
  • Do not block doorways, and place the tree out of the way of household “traffic.”


  • Never use lighted candles on or near the tree or ANY other evergreens.
  • Only place candles where they cannot be knocked down or blown over.
  • Consider using battery-operated flameless candles (these are neat – some even have timers!) which can look, smell, and feel like real candles.
  • Use sturdy, safe candleholders.
  • Protect candle flames with glass chimneys or containers.

 For a comprehensive list, check out this brochure from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

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