Top 10 Holiday Decorating Safety Tips

Ready to deck the halls? Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, here are some important ways to avoid not-so-merry mishaps.

10. STEP BY STEP: If you're heading "up on the rooftop" to place decorations or hang lights, remember basic ladder safety. Place the ladder on level ground and ask a friend or family member to help hold it steady. Always face the ladder and maintain three points of contact at all times.

9. GET LIT: Twinkling holiday lights are one of the season's happiest sights. Check your holiday light sets and discard any with signs of wear or damage includingfraying wires and broken sockets. Be sure any light sets you’re using on your home’s exterior are made for outdoor use. (Here's a handy hint – a red UL label means the product meets safety requirements for indoor and outdoor use, and a green UL label signifies that the product meets requirements for indoor use only.) Never string more than three strands of lights together on one extension cord and be sure to use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords donot get damaged.

8. OH CHRISTMAS TREE: Opting for a live tree? Make sure it's fresh. A freshly-cut tree is green, its needles are hard to pull from branches, and the needles do not break when bent between your fingers. When tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles. Back at home, keep your tree far away from fireplaces, radiators and any other heat sources, and water frequently to avoid the tree drying out and becoming a fire hazard.

7. GO FAKE: Today's artificial trees are not only more natural-looking and lifelike than ever, they come in every size and shape and can last for decades. Be sure to look for the fire-resistant label on any artificial tree and the UL safety symbol on all pre-lit trees.

6. FIND A NEW OUTLET: Overloaded outlets set the stage for popped circuit breakers and possible electrical fires. Plan your display according to the number and location of available outlets, and avoid piggybacking extra decorations on extension cords. Overall, today's LED lights are about 75% more efficient than conventional incandescent lights. Switching from old-style lights to LEDs makes your electrical load more than seven times smaller and has the same effect on your holiday electric bill.

5. ALL THE TRIMMINGS: If your home includes young children or pets, decorate the tree with them in mind. This means using unbreakable decorations and moving ornaments that are breakable or have metal hooks toward the top, safely out of reach.

4. LET IT GLOW: Keep candles on a sturdy base to prevent tipping, and place them where children and pets can't reach them. You will also want to place lit candles away from any items that can catch fire, including Christmas trees, evergreen boughs, paper decorations, curtains and furniture. Never leave a lit candle unattended. Or avoid open flames altogether by switching out traditional candles for battery-operated flameless candles.

3. BOUGHS OF HOLLY: Plants can be a festive addition to your holiday decorating, but keep those that may be poisonous (including some Holly, Mistletoe and Poinsettias) out of reach of children and pets. The national Poison Control Center can be reached at (800) 222-1222.

2. POWER DOWN: Always turn off all your holiday lights when you go to bed or leave the house to avoid a short that could start an electrical fire in your absence.

1. COUNT ON COLMAR: When it comes to safe holiday decor, Colmar Home Center True Value has everything on your wish list. Visit ourMargate City storefor LED and traditional light sets, net lights, icicles, ladders, laser projectors, Christmas trees, ornaments and toppers, tree stands and storage, garland, wreaths, outdoor inflatables, stockings, hats, electric candles and more. You can expect quality products, exceptional service and expert advice.

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