Keeping Your Holidays Merry and Bright: Safety Tips For the Gift-Giving Season

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Posted by Emily Anderson

image may your days be merry and bright writing

Decorate Safely for the Holidays

Buying a real Christmas tree is a tradition for many families, but they can be fire hazards if you’re not careful.  A real tree needs to be well-hydrated and fresh right off the lot – no Charlie Brown trees, where all the needles fall off!  Once you get your tree home, cut off the bottom 2 inches of trunk so the tree can soak in plenty of water.  Keeping your live Christmas tree hydrated is the best way to avoid fires.

If you have a fake tree, it can still catch fire if you are not careful.  Look for a fire-retardant label on the box that indicates a fake tree will resist burning.  Regardless if you have a live or fake Christmas tree, you should always shut the lights off at night or any time you leave the house.

When decorating your tree, take care that the tree is firmly sat in its stand so it won’t fall over.  Ensure you check the lights for frayed cords and know how many light strands you can connect together safely.  Consider purchasing LED lights, which do not give off heat and are more energy-efficient.  Hang glass ornaments high on the tree, so your kids and pets can’t reach them.

Lighting a menorah or other holiday candles can be dangerous.  According to FEMA, 2 out of 5 home decoration fires are started by candles.   It’s best to use electric menorahs and candles and avoid open flame altogether.

According to Poison Control, poinsettias are not poisonous.  However, holly berries are poisonous to both people and pets.  If you are decorating with fresh holly, make sure you have removed all of the berries from the boughs.

Don’t Let a Grinch Take Your Gifts

As you might expect, theft and other property crimes increase between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.  To avoid being a victim of a Grinch, take a few extra precautions during the holiday season.  If you’re out shopping, make sure your vehicle is locked.  Put any purchases in the trunk so they will be out of sight to anyone walking by your vehicle.  If you’re purchasing gifts online, consider having the packages delivered to your office.  This trick means boxes don’t sit out on your porch for hours while you are at work – and you can keep the presents secret from curious kids.

Once gifts have been opened, take care not to place any boxes out on the curb in plain view.  If you can’t break the box down enough to fit it into your recycle bin, take it directly to the recycling center or landfill.  Big boxes are a sure sign to thieves that you had a good holiday.

As cute as those videos are of your kids opening their presents – do not post these on social media.  Even if your account is locked down, you never know who will see your post.  If you have to share the kids’ excitement with your loved ones, send them via email.

Hang Your Stockings Safely Near the Fireplace

There is nothing better during the chilly holidays than warming your toes by a toasty fireplace.  Because of that, fireplace safety is something you should consider this time of year.  Fireplaces can quickly build up with soot and other debris during the year, so hire a chimney sweep to clean it thoroughly before you begin to use it.

Make sure to remove any holiday decorations that hang down from your mantel if you are going to light a fire.  These decorations could potentially catch on fire from a spark.  And don’t forget to put the fire out before you go to bed on Christmas Eve…or else how will Santa Claus deliver presents to good girls and boys?

Have a safe and merry holiday season!

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