Are your holiday ornaments hooked on safety?

I have to tell you about my least favorite part of the December holiday season. It’s not the shopping, not all the cooking, it’s not even having to deep clean the house before the relatives show up; nope, it’s ornament hooks. Those little bits of metal are the bane of my holiday season.

We have pets that think our holiday ornaments are toys. My favorite pair of shoes is, well, none. My daughter has a medical condition that leaves her extremely vulnerable to dangerous infections if she cuts, scratches, or punctures her feet. All of these things make traditional metal hooks, and their attendant puncture and choke issues, a menace in our household.

When it comes time to decorate the tree I can never find the box they are in and as soon as all the decorations are back in the attic they start showing up all over the house. Fortunately for me, there are a lot of alternatives to the traditional little wire hooks for holiday home decor.

So let’s talk about the alternatives:

Make your own hook. — The most basic is the bent paperclip. I could say more, but do I need to? — Twist ties: This one was new to me. I found it on a pet safety website and they recommended that you use twist ties to attach the ornaments tightly to the tree so that pets (and probably curious younger children) cannot remove them. — Wire and beads: For the arts and crafts lovers. This is basically a homemade traditional hook decorated with beads. The only advantage this seems to have over a traditional hook is that the beads would, hopefully, make it easier to see as you step on it and/or watch your dog/cat/2-year old chew it — Pipe cleaners: This is arts and crafts at my speed. Since pipe cleaners are just fuzzy bendable wires this works either like the beaded ones above (but softer if you step on it) or like the closed loops mentioned below since the pipe cleaner can be twisted into a closed circle.

None of these are bad options, but they still, at their heart, have little pieces of wire to poke you.

Do not use any type of hook at all: — Many people choose to just hang their ornaments with the loop of thread or ribbon that they came attached with. Unfortunately ornaments bought in larger quantities (boxes of bulbs, coordinated sets of ornaments) don’t generally come with anything other than a small metal loop or eye at the top.

Thread the eye yourself: — Create your own loop to hang the ornament by threading something through the “eye”. You can use anything to do this, but the most common things I’ve found used are thin ribbon, thread, embroidery floss, yarn, and fishing line.

One of the two choices above seemed safest to me, but there’s one more option out there, silicone ornament hangers. I’ve only seen these on one website. They are clear loops not sold directly to the public by the manufacturer and I can’t find an outlet that carries them. They looked puncture safe, but they also looked like good candidates for the most-likely-to-be-choked on-by-a-pet-or-small-child award.

For our house I’ve decided to make loops for the ornaments on our tree. You’ll have to excuse me now, I need to go get more ribbon.