Holiday Decorating Safety Tips

By Robert Robillard on Uncategorized

Winter Holiday Safety

photo: Country Living [Lucas Allen]

Even with all the hustle and bustle, I still love the winter holiday season.

The window candles, Christmas tree and exterior holiday lights and fragrant Frasier Fir trees are beautiful symbols of the holiday season, but when used improperly, these holiday decorations can be deadly.

It’s important to consider these holiday decorating safety tips.

According to the Consumer Public Safety Commission approximately 11,000 people are treated for decoration-related injuries associated with falls, cuts, shocks and burns.

The National Fire Protection Association estimates a yearly average of 240 fires involving dried-out Christmas trees result in 16 deaths and $13 million in property damage.   An average of 13,000 candle-related fires result in 170 deaths and $390 million in property damage.

Holiday Decorating Safety Tips

Although considered as part of the holiday decorating safety tips you should be thinking about inspecting and replacing the batteries in your smoke detectors, or if you do not have smoke detectors, install one smoke alarm on each level of your home, and near sleeping areas.

Smoke detectors should be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendation and be UL listed.  Where to place a smoke alarm.

The safest plan is to recognize a problem or dangerous situation before it threatens you and your family!

Safe Holiday Decorating 

Trees and Decorations:

Artificial trees should have a “Fire Resistant” label.  Fire resistant does not mean fire proof.

Real Christmas trees should be fresh and not dried out.  A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches and do not break when bent between your fingers.   The bottom of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.

Think about artificial or real tree placement in your home.  Avoid setting them up near fireplaces, vents, and radiators.  In order to prevent the tree from drying out keep the tree stand filled with water.   Don’t place a tree in front of an exterior door and in case of a house fire – have a plan.

Tree decorations should be fire resistant and if you have small children not sharp, easily breakable or a choking hazard.

Holiday Lights:

Indoors or outside,only use lights that are UL, ETL or ITSNA safety tested.   Replace older, damaged sets and purchase wire sets that have thicker wiring and safety fuses to prevent the wire overheating.  Inspect all wires for frays and crack – throw them away if you find any.

Follow the light manufacturers recommendation and try to avoid connecting more than three strands of lights, unless it is specifically stated that it is safe.

If  using outdoor lights make sure you plug  them into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protected receptacle or a portable GFCI.

All holiday lights should be shut off when you go to bed or set on a timer to shut them of automatically at bedtime.


Keep lighted candles away from items that can catch fire and burn easily, such as trees, other evergreens, decorations, curtains and furniture.  Never leave candles unattended and extinguish them at bedtime.

Always use non-flammable holders or glass enclosures and keep out of reach from children


Have a professional clean your chimney each winter season.

Avoid burning wrapping paper or plastic items in the fireplace. Both items ignite suddenly and burn intensely, resulting in a flash fire. Plastics produce off toxic smoke can be dangerous to breath.  Utilize your fireplace screen to prevent sparks from igniting nearby flammable materials.

Portable Heaters & Space Heaters:

Only utilize newer, UL tested heaters in safe working condition. Place space heaters at least three feet away from anything that could catch fire, including paper, clothing, drapes and furniture.   Turn off heaters when you leave the room or go to bed.

Fire Extinguishers:

Keep an ABC rated fire extinguisher nearby and make sure folks know how to use them.  Make a family plan for fire emergencies. Practice your escape plan.

By utilizing these holiday decorating safety tips, some common sense, educating family members and inspecting and purchasing newer, safer and UL tested you can ensure a happy, safe and enjoyable holiday.


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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzz As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising the bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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