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One of the best parts about the holidays is the decorations! Nothing else puts everyone into the holiday spirit more than seeing the holiday decorations. Around this time, families are beginning to dig through their boxes for last year's holiday decors and buying new ones in preparation to start putting them up. Before you start putting up your holiday decorations, there are several safety tips that you should be aware of.

Follow these helpful holiday decorating safety rules:

  1. Use a sturdy wooden ladder

    Contrary to metal ladders, wooden ladders won't conduct electricity, making it safer for when you are putting up lights. Make sure you check for any loose or missing screws, bolts, and hinges. Your ladder should extend at least three feet past the roof of your house. This ensures that you don't have to reach over an unsteady surface.

  2. Have additional support

    It is important to have someone give you additional support, especially when you are hanging something high up. Always have someone keep the base of your ladder steady.

  3. Make sure smoke and heat detectors are working

    Test your smoke and heat detectors before the holidays. Holiday decorations can easily be fire hazards, so if such an incident does occur, you want to be alerted right away.

  4. Use the correct lights

    When you are hanging lights outdoors, be sure to use UL approved extension cords for outdoor use. Also check that the lights that you want to use are actually indoor and outdoor rated.

  5. Do not staple, tack, or nail holiday lights

    This can damage the wires and cause electric shocks. Instead, use hooks, tape, or clips for hanging your holiday lights. Another option is attaching them with malleable wire.

  6. Examine lights for signs of damage

    Look out for wires that are damaged or frayed. Also check the light sockets to make sure they are not broken or damaged.

  7. Make sure extension cords are not in water or snow

    When you are putting up decorations that would require electricity, make sure that it isn't laying in standing water or snow. Although during the winter, it is inevitable that the equipment will get wet outdoors, make sure none will lay in a body of water or snow.

  8. Do not overload extension cords

    Extension cords are meant to be a temporary electrical solution. Overloading it with lighting and décor can easily overheat it. Make sure to turn it off the extension cord when it's not in use, not just the lights itself. Unplug the lighting too when you do not want it on.

  9. Hang decorative plants high

    Keep decorative plants such as holly or mistletoes out of the reach of children and pets. Smaller children may see them as edible fruits, but they can be poisonous when swallowed.

  10. Keep fake food out of reach of children and pets

    Similar to the decorative plants, people sometimes decorate with fake vegetables and foods, especially on the Christmas tree. Make sure that it is out of the reach of children and pets, or tell kids that they are not edible.

  11. Do not purchase an older tree

    Older trees tend to be dryer and are more easily flammable. Choose a tree that has more moisture and leaves are less fragile to the touch.

  12. Keep fragile ornaments and decorations above the reach of children and pets

    If the ornament is fragile, make sure you hang it higher on the tree or place it somewhere that your pets and children can't touch it. Not only does it suck to lose an ornament, but if it breaks, it can leave glass or sharp pieces that can cause injuries.

  13. Keep flammable objects away from your fireplace

    The holidays are the perfect time to use your fireplace, but be careful of what you place near it. Keep flammable objects such as gifts, wrapping paper, and even your Christmas tree at least 3 feet away from your fireplace.

  14. Secure candles

    Make sure your candles are on a stable surface. Also, do not leave lit candles unattended in a room or with children. Try using electrical candles instead, since they are a much safer option.

  15. Turn off all lights when you leave your house

    Before leaving your house, don't forget to turn off all your décor lights. Not only will it save energy, it also decreases the chances of any fire accidents that can occur while you are away.

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