Have a disaster-free holiday by practicing these simple (but essential!) Christmas safety tips.
The stockings are hung by the chimney with care…and the Christmas tree is safely placed three feet away from the fireplace. OK, that might not be how the old Christmas poem goes. But it’s a good tip to keep in mind! Read on for more Christmas safety tips to keep your loved ones safe this holiday season.
1. Replace Old Lights and Use Them Correctly
The lights bring holiday cheer for sure, but they can be a safety hazard. Use indoor lights indoors and outdoor lights outdoors, and always turn them off when leaving the house or going to bed. Be sure to replace light sets that have broken sockets or frayed wires.
2. Be Mindful of Poisonous Plants
Eating mistletoe is actually toxic. Keep it away from pets, along with other potentially poisonous plants like holly berries, Jerusalem cherry and amaryllis.
3. Practice Car Safety When Traveling
It’s always important to drive safely, but the Christmas travel season can be especially dangerous. Have your car serviced before leaving on a road trip, carry an emergency kit and give yourself extra time to avoid rushing. Remember to decrease your speed if you’re driving in snow or ice, and wait for snowplows and sanding trucks to clear the roadways before starting your journey.
4. Watch Out for Online Shopping Fraud
Unfortunately, the holiday shopping season is fraught with fraud. While you shop, carefully check that the website address is spelled correctly—fraudulent websites with similar spelling can trick you into giving away your credit card information. When checking out, be sure the payment page address begins with “https” (the “s” stands for “secure”). And as always, never click a link from an unsolicited email.
5. Don’t Make the Tree a Fire Hazard
To avoid the same fate as Clark Griswold’s tree in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, be aware of fire safety. Have the tree vendor cut off about 2″ of the trunk to expose fresh wood for better water absorption, and make sure there’s always water in the tree stand. Keep your tree at least three feet away from radiators or fireplaces. And if you buy an artificial tree, check that it’s labeled “fire resistant.”
6. Properly Secure the Tree
No one wants Santa to get squished by a fallen Christmas tree. Make sure your tree is properly secured with a strong stand that doesn’t lean. If you have a fresh tree, don’t whittle or taper the trunk to fit your stand; this makes the tree less stable.
7. Don’t Burn Wrapping Paper in the Fireplace
Sure, a crackling fire in the fireplace is a must-have for cozy holiday events. Just avoid any fire accidents by practicing proper fireplace safety. Don’t burn trees, wreaths or wrapping paper; and always use a fireplace screen.
8. Keep the Raw Turkey Away From the Salad
One thing is for sure, nothing will ruin your Christmas dinner faster than guests coming down with food poisoning. Handle food safely with these simple reminders: keep raw meat away from fresh produce, wash your hands frequently, use a meat thermometer and use separate cutting boards for cooked and uncooked meats.
9. Be Careful with Candles
The top three days for home fires started by candles are Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. To avoid a disaster, keep candles at least a foot away from anything flammable. Make sure candles are in stable holders that can’t be easily knocked down, and never leave burning candles unattended.
10. Hang Breakable Ornaments up High
Those colorful and shiny vintage ornaments are just too tempting for little ones! Instead, hang breakable ornaments at top of the tree. That way, kids can get in on the decorating fun without the worry of broken glass.