You’ve read blogs about it. Most of you have seen it for yourselves. At this point there is simply no escaping it. The holidays are coming and most (if not all) of the Christmas and Hanukkah related merchandise is already proudly displayed at local retailers.
In a previous blog I made a comment about the timing of the holiday décor, but now I’ve decided to take a different approach. I figure if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. With that public confession out of the way here is my first list (more will follow as we creep closer to the big days) of holiday reminders:
· Look for “fire resistant” labels on artificial trees.
· Get the freshest “live” tree possible. To check for freshness, needles should be hard to remove and branches shouldn’t snap off easily.
· Keep ALL trees away from fireplaces and radiators.
· Use only flame-resistant materials to decorate the tree.
· If you have young children avoid decorating your tree with sharp or fragile decorations. If you have trimmings that resemble candy or food that may tempt children to eat them, consider placing them out of reach or leaving them off the tree all together. Otherwise, consider framing the base of your tree with a childproof gate.
· Never use electric lights on a metallic tree.
· Test your lights PRIOR to putting them on the tree. Check each set of lights for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections.
· When using lights as outdoor decorations, check labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use and plug them in only ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protected receptacles.
· Turn off all holiday lights before you go to bed or leave the house.
· Never leave burning candles unattended.
· Keep burning candles away from flammable materials, especially evergreens.
· Always use non-flammable candleholders and keep all burning candles away from children and pets.
· Extinguish all candles before you go to bed or leave the house.
· Use care with “fire salts,” which produce colored flames. They contain heavy metals that, if eaten, can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting.
· Do not burn wrapping papers in the fireplace.
· Place a screen around your fireplace to prevent sparks from igniting nearby flammable materials.