Christmas Decorating Safety Tips

Posted: 12/05/2014

Yeah, that’s right… Christmas decorations are harmful. That is, if they aren’t used properly.

Just the other day I tried to change a broken lightbulb in a string of Christmas lights… while they were plugged in. Yes, I’m admitting that momentary lack in judgment. My finger got a little zinger and no real harm done.

But, what if it had been worse? There are many ways that carelessness and oversight when dealing with Christmas decorations can have really terrible results. Electrocution, burns, a trip to the hospital, starting a fire – these are all possibilities if you’re not careful.

Using a Real Tree
They’re certainly beautiful, but real Christmas trees require extra care to prevent a fire. First, make sure the tree is fresh. If you can’t get to a tree farm to cut one down yourself so you know how fresh it is (the closest one is Cole’s Tree Farm in Lebanon – another is King Tree Farm in Ozark, but the trees are pre-cut), then there are few ways you can check:
  • Needles resist being pulled off
  • Needles do not snap when bent
  • Bottom of the trunk has resin
  • Only a few needles fall when you shake a limb

It may sound like a bit of common sense, but don’t place your real tree near the fireplace, heating ducts, space heaters or radiators. This is a fire waiting to happen. Also, be sure to water the tree daily to keep it from getting dry. Know that, if the water falls below the trunk, then a resin seal will form over the opening and the tree will no longer take on water. In which case you will need to make a fresh cut in the bottom of the trunk (the outside rings are where the most water is absorbed). If you can cut the bottom, mist the branches with water twice a day.

If the water reserve stops going down each day, then the tree isn’t taking any water on and is drying out. It would be best, at this point, to remove the tree. With proper watering and care, your tree will last three to four weeks. Find answers to more real Christmas tree questions on the Pfaff Christmas Tree website.

Christmas Lights
Before you string sets of lights together, check the instructions on the packaging – it should tell you how many of the same sets can be put in one string (usually three to five). Be sure to follow this rule because otherwise you may overload the circuit and start a fire.

Speaking of circuits, because of the mass quantity of outdoor lights most people like to put up, you need to make sure they are plugged into a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) plug. If there is overcurrent, a GFCI will shut that circuit down, which can prevent fire. If you need one (or several) installed outside, HA Construction can help you. And it’s not a bad idea to use a GFCI for your tree either.

And, you know, check for frayed wires and broken lights before plugging the lights in… so that you don’t accidentally shock yourself. A little extra caution (and common sense) will go a long way toward protecting your family while you enjoy a festival holiday home.