It’s that time of the year for holiday shopping, decorating, cookie making and holiday cheer! One of my favorite Holiday movies is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. And well… Clark Griswold he just makes the movie. His heart felt attempts at creating a “good old-fashioned family Christmas” don’t seem to end well. If you can relate, then this blog is definitely for you. Do you plan on going out into the woods to cut down your own over sized Christmas tree, tying it to the top of your minivan and stuffing it in your living room? Are you an expert at ” exterior illumination”? Trimming the tree and decorating the outside and inside with lots of twinkling lights is the pinnacle of holiday decorating. Incorrect execution can be dangerous for you, your family and holiday guests. So here are some helpful tips on how to avoid disaster.
1. If you plan on purchasing a real Christmas tree first keep it watered daily. A little sprite and ginger ale added may also keep it fresh longer.
2. Set up the tree in a well ventilated area.
3. Keep burning candles away from the tree.
4. Check the lights and wires before putting up on the tree.
5. Only use good extension cords and don’t overload the sockets.
6. Always shut off the lights on the tree at bedtime and upon leaving your house.
7. Invest in a surge protector.
8. Don’t keep the tree longer than one month or less if it’s starting to dry out too quickly.
9. If you have pets keep an eye out to make sure they do not chew on the wires.
On to decorating the outside with lights, reindeer and the blow up Santas. If you are lucky enough to be able to hire an electrician to put the lights on your house then read no further. But if you are installing the lights yourself, read on.
1. Do not staple the lights to your roof. Stores sell gutter clips that you can attach the lights to your house.
2. Be careful on the ladder. If you are using a metal ladder do not have the lights on while putting up and your best bet is to use a wooden ladder. Make sure you also have a spotter.
3. Most importantly, know the electrical system in your home. Use lights and extension cords that are specifically for the outdoors. And make sure you do not overload the sockets. Santa doesn’t need to see your house from the next town so know the amps your home can handle when deciding how many lights to put up.
4. Another popular tradition is the luminaria lining your property (Santa Clause path) on the outside. Read the directions carefully when lighting candles and placing them in the luminary bags. Especially if its windy, the bags can blow over. Traditionally people fill flame-resistant bags with at least an inch of sand and place a candle inside. But to be on the safe side you can buy battery operated votive candles in place of the real candles and not have to worry about starting a fire. Again only light luminaria if you are at home and can keep an eye on it and always put the candles out at bedtime.
Finally, if you have toddlers, young children or your guests will be bringing theirs keep all glass ornaments up high. If you plan to use the fireplace over the holidays take precaution in that as well. It’s important to property maintain both gas and wood burning fireplaces. Talk to a professional to learn more about what you need to know when using a fireplace.
Ensuring your home is safe will keep your holidays festive and worry free. So put on the hot cocoa, get the Christmas tunes going and trim that tree. As of today there are only 19 more shopping and cookie making days left!!