Do you remember the scene in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation when Clark Griswold’s massive and beautifully decorated tree catches fire and quickly disintegrates? Well, whether the cause is a dry tree or a wobbly menorah (or a misplaced cigar), we can all agree that no one wants to reenact that scene in our own living room this or any other holiday season.
While this is a busy and stressful time of year for many – between holiday shopping, decorating and social engagements; preparing for visiting relatives; and trying to get everything done before the new year – the following are a few simple things to keep in mind when it comes to keeping your house looking beautiful, the season light and most importantly, your family and loved ones safe.
Tempting Décor: It’s well known that poinsettias can be poisonous. But, did you know that mistletoe, holly berries, Jerusalem cherry and amaryllis are also on the look-but-don’t-touch list? Each pretty plant is either poison or a stomach irritant. Keep them out of reach of children and pets and make sure you know your local poison control number.
Outdoor Safety: While most of us will leave the stringing of 250,000 sparkling bulbs imported from Italy to Clark, that doesn’t mean we don’t want our own homes to shine. Ladders are great (and often necessary) for rigging up the lights, but they can also be a safety hazard. This season make sure that you:
Oh, Christmas Tree: Whether you are decorating a live or artificial tree, make sure to set it up away from fireplaces, radiators and portable heaters and take special care not to block doorways. Remember that a heated room can dry out a live tree quickly, so cut a few inches off the trunk of the tree to allow for better water absorption. If you are purchasing an artificial tree, make sure the label reads “Fire Resistant.” And, whether your tree is real or artificial, always unplug the lights before bed or when leaving the house.
Ground Control: To avoid unwanted falls and spills, place extension cords along walls and out of high traffic areas. Remember not to overcrowd outlets with too many electronic devices.
Shine bright each night: Especially towards the end of Hanukkah, when many lit candles can produce a large flame and a lot of heat, it pays to have practiced candle safety from the very beginning. Therefore, remember to:
Baby it’s Cold Outside: Tis the season for space heaters! While extremely convenient this time of year, whether at home or in the office, space heaters can also be a fire hazard. Buy a heater that has been tested and labeled by a nationally recognized testing company, such as Underwriter’s Laboratories Inc. (UL), and be sure to follow these simple guidelines to prevent any accidents:
Lastly, don’t forget to take care of yourself this holiday season, both mentally and physically. The holidays can bring about unwanted stress and pressure to have a Pinterest-worthy celebration, but carving out time to care for yourself (even ten minutes to meditate or go for a walk) can go a long way to bolster your wellbeing.
Wishing everyone a happy and healthy holiday season!