Safety and Cost Savings Tips for the Holiday Season

While I realize I should have written this blog a month ago, I hope it is still valuable in 2020 and for years to come. 

Your Tree

Artificial Trees
  • Make sure you purchase one that is tested and labeled as fire resistant
  • Select pre-lit trees that have been certified with the UL (Underwriters Laboratories) mark or ETL (Intertek)
  • Each light string should have the UL mark near the plug. Green means approved for indoor use and red indicates outdoor use.


Real Trees
  • Look for a well hydrated tree and be sure to keep it watered
  • Make sure your tree stand is big enough to hold enough water to keep your tree healthy
  • A sticky sappy tree indicates a healthy tree


General Tree Safety Tips
  • Inspect light strings for frayed or loose wires before hanging
  • Remember that it isn’t just the tree starting a fire, but how fast a tree can accelerate a fire from another source
  • Don’t have candles near your tree and make sure candles are displayed safely and never left unattended
  • Turn off all tree lights and holiday decorations when you go to bed at night or leave the house 
  • When purchasing lights or other decorations, make sure you send in any warranty info so you are notified immediately of any product recalls
  • Make sure you purchase any electrical holiday decorations from reputable retailers
  • Don’t overload outlets
  • Don’t put cords under rugs or furniture 


Cost Savings Tips
  • LED lights are more expensive but they last 20 times longer
  • Artificial trees cost 70% less over 10 years according to the American Christmas Tree Association 
  • Purchase lights, trees and decorations AFTER Christmas when everything is on sale!
  • Here are some fun Christmas decoration savings tips


Childproofing for the Holidays

  • Make sure electrical cords are out of the way of children and supervise small children carefully around Christmas trees and electrical cords
  • Cover unused outlets with proper safety covers
  • Make sure tiny ornaments and metal hooks are kept on the top of the tree and out of the reach of small children as they can pose a choking hazard
  • Also try to keep glass or breakable ornaments toward the top of the tree
  • Be aware that strings of garland, lights or  other decorations can be a strangulation hazard
  • Try the battery operated candles for a safe lit look
  • Pay attention to any age recommendations on large decorations such as trains or moving santa’s


While I’m sticking to home issues, check out 8 Tips to Help You Pick Out Safe Christmas Gifts for Kids


Outdoor Decorating

  • Just like with indoor lights, inspect them for damage and missing bulbs
  • Outdoor lights should have the same UI labels as indoor lights and will be marked red
  • Don’t hammer nails or tacks into cords when hanging lights –   using clips is the safest
  • Only use outdoor extension cords and lights
  • Don’t overload extension cords – Only 3 light strings per cord is recommended
  • Use proper GFCI protocol – it is against code to use non GFCI outlets for outdoor lights (read more about GFCI Safety)
  • Be safe when using a ladder to hang lights and decorations – be sure it is on sturdy ground and don’t get it near power lines
  • Keep all outdoor decorations away from power lines
  • Turn off lights when you go to bed or put them on a timer


General Holiday Safety


  • Have an up to date fire extinguisher in a easy to find place and make sure everyone in the house knows how to use it
  • Check all smoke detectors and Carbon Monoxide alarms
  • Make sure you keep walkways, driveways and stairs shoveled and iced as to prevent and slip and falls
  • Be sure your fireplace flue is clean and never leave fires unattended
  • Don’t drink and drive and make sure your guests are safe to drive as well

For a more on how to have a happy and healthy holiday, read Holiday Safety Tips: A Comprehensive Resource

I hope these safety tips help keep your family safe during this holiday season and for many more to come. From my family to yours, Have a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!