The holidays are the perfect time of year to create memories with family and friends, but it also means there will be more people in your home as you host the holiday gathering. As you begin preparing your home for your guest's arrival, keep these helpful tips in mind.
It's always fun to get into the holiday spirit by decorating, but make sure you are doing so safely. Before getting on the ladder and stringing the lights across the shingles, check that the lights are working properly. Throw away any strings that are worn out or broken, and replace lights with products that have been tested by a reliable source. Only lights and extension cords specified for the outdoors should be used to light up your holiday display. Be sure to keep outdoor electrical connectors as dry as possible by keeping them above ground.
When putting up your tree, the NFPA recommends placing it at least three feet from any heat sources such as fire places, space heaters, candles and radiators. If you're planning on buying a natural tree this year, make sure that it's as fresh as possible for not only will it spread the smell of pine throughout your home for longer but it will be less of a fire hazard. If you're planning to trim your tree, make sure you're using non-combustible or flame resistant materials. When decorating with ornaments, make sure to put fragile ornaments far from the bottom of the tree, out of the reach of children and pets. And remember to never use lit candles to decorate trees!
When you're out shopping for your loved ones, make sure your recent purchases are in a safe place. Don't leave your newly purchased gifts in the passenger compartment of your unattended car, but rather place them in the trunk of your car out of sight from thieves. After you've wrapped your purchases and are beginning to place them under the tree, keep in mind that a pile of gifts under a Christmas tree is the perfect invitation for burglars. Close the curtains and pull down the shades to keep them out of view.
Before your family and friends come over to celebrate, make sure your home is in tip top shape. Check that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly, and change the batteries if necessary. Don't forget to also check that fire extinguishers are in working order and are located in a convenient place in case something goes wrong in the kitchen or by the fireplace.
Once all the holiday parties are over and you're returning to reality, it's time to take down your holiday decorations. Once your tree has started dropping needles, it's a sign your tree is drying out, making it a greater fire hazard. Do not burn your tree in the fireplace, or leave it in your garage, but take your tree to the curb and allow professionals to dispose of it properly. Don't forget to bring in your outdoor lights, too. While it may be hard to take them all down if you have a lot of snow, the sooner you bring them back inside the longer they'll last.