Life in Portland

10 Holiday Home Decorating Safety Tips That You Need to Know

Annual Holiday Lights on Peacock Lane in SE Portland

Annual Holiday Lights on Peacock Lane in SE Portland

Keep Your Nest Safe This Holiday Season

The holiday season is upon us, bringing with it traditions, togetherness, good cheer, and maybe if you’re lucky, a few of those extra hideous sweaters, too. Of course, it wouldn’t be fair to leave your nest out of the festivities. Decking the halls of your lovely home is a fun way to express your holiday spirit, but you’ll definitely want to play it safe.

Read on to learn about ten very important holiday home-decorating safety tips that you need to know.

1) Inspect Your Holiday Lights

Put on your fedora and get out your magnifying glass, because it’s time to do some inspecting. If your holiday decoration plans include twinkling lights, then you should definitely make sure your lights are up to snuff. Once you’ve untangled your lights (yay!) check for cracked sockets and plugs, broken bulbs, frayed wires, and loose connections. If any of your strands are suspect, get rid of them.

But hey – don’t just throw those old lights in the trash bin. You can recycle them! In fact, some holiday light makers will even give you a discount when you send your old lights in to be processed into reusable raw materials.

Getting rid of your old lights will make your home safer, and recycling them will, in some small way, make the world a better place.

2) Go Green With LED Lights

Warm LED Lights Make an Ideal Substitute for Old-School Xmas Tree Lights

Warm LED Lights Make an Ideal Substitute for Old-School Xmas Tree Lights

Okay, now that you’ve gotten rid of those old lights, it’s time to pick out some new ones. This year, we recommend making the switch to LED lights for a few reasons, if you haven’t done so already.

First, LED lights produce far less heat, so they’re less likely to turn your tree into a bonfire. Second, they consume less energy, so they’re better for the environment. And finally, they last a lot longer than incandescent lights, so they save you money in the long run, and who couldn’t do with a bit more money in their pockets this time of year?

And by the way, the aesthetes among you will be happy to know that modern LED bulbs look a lot nicer than they used to.

3) Timing Is Everything

Unplugging your tree lights can be a pain, and it’s easy to forget to turn off your outdoor display. Our advice? Put timers on both your indoor and outdoor lights. That way, you won’t have to go crawling under the tree or looking for a child to cajole into unplugging your lights for you.

4) Clean Those Gutters

If you’re going to festoon your eaves in colorful lights, then you should probably take a look at those gutters while you’re at it. Here in the Pacific Northwest, there probably isn’t much danger of those leaves catching fire, but they can damage your gutters and weigh them down when the rain starts to pour.

Clean Dirty Rain Gutters This Holiday Season

Clean Dirty Rain Gutters This Holiday Season

Add a blanket of snow and the magic of icicles, and you’ve a potential safety hazard, not to mention a sizable DIY project or repair bill.

5) Putting Out Fires

There’s nothing quite like the warm glow of candles or the radiance of a roaring fire to make your home feel cozy. But left unattended or carelessly placed, and any fire source can ruin your holiday in a serious way. Fire safety = good. Conflagration = bad. Be sure to blow out the candles and put the fire out before you head to bed for the night.

6) Keep the Booze out of Reach

For some folks, enjoying a cocktail is part of the holiday fun. We’re not here to teetotal; just to provide a friendly reminder to keep the tipple out of reach of the youngsters this season.

7) Hanging Lights Outside? Ditch the Ladder

Hanging Outdoor Lights with a Light Pole

Hanging Outdoor Lights with a Light Pole

Ladders are certainly handy to have around, but they might not be the best idea for putting up outdoor holiday decorations. In wet weather, ladder steps can be quite treacherous. And if you’re using a metal ladder, you’re basically standing on the perfect electrical conductor. Invest in a light-hanging pole instead this year.

8) Choose a Healthy Tree

A dry, sickly indoor tree is a fire waiting to happen, especially when it’s all dolled up in hot, electric light bulbs. Tap your tree’s trunk on the ground. If it loses too many needles, then take a pass.

Check the trunk for nice, sticky resin, but try not to touch it. It’s impossible to wash off of your hands (seriously, though, try getting sap off your fingers with some nail polish remover and a paper towel). Bend the needles. If they’re pliable, your tree is probably healthy enough to take home.

9) Ornament Safety

Tree ornaments are wonderful keepsakes, but they can also be hazardous to young children and pets. Hang old, sharp, or fragile ornaments near the top of the tree to keep them out of reach.

10) Hang Mistletoe High

Be Sure to Hang Your Mistletoe High, Out of the Reach of Pets and Children

Be Sure to Hang Your Mistletoe High, Out of the Reach of Pets and Children

Mistletoe may get you an extra smooch, but it’s toxic. The same goes for Jerusalem cherries and holly. Hang it high enough so that kids and pets won’t mistake it for a holiday hors d’oeuvres. 

Happy Holidays to Everyone, From Urban Nest!

We at Urban Nest would like to wish you happy and safe holidays this season. May your homes be filled with joy, warmth, and stylish décor!

[Photos Via: PortlandLimos; Yopi; RooflifeORE; Lowes; LadyCucine]