With the turn of the season and winter coming on fast, many LGI Homes homeowners are getting ready to spend their very first holiday season in their brand-new home. Anticipating the first of many years of family memories, they can’t wait to get a jumpstart on decorating. Starting early gives these homeowners the time to ensure that they start out their holiday season safely, and avoid any impromptu trips to the emergency room. Make the most of the weeks before decorating time by reviewing these safe holiday decorating tips, and prepare your home for the holidays in the safest way possible.
Check your tools. Having an organized and stocked tool box makes decorating your home easier, safer and less time-consuming. Check over your tools to make sure that each is in operating order; replace or repair any that are worn or prone to malfunction. This is particularly true for electrical handheld tools. If you’ll be decorating outdoors and along your roofline, make sure that you have a ladder tall enough to allow you to safely reach all necessary points.
Check your lights. Strands of holiday lights can become worn or frayed over the years, presenting electrocution and fire risks. When unpacking new or used lights, check over each strand carefully, looking for bared wires, cracked or broken sockets, and loose connections. Should any of these problems be discovered, throw the strand of lights away. Also check that all lights have been safety-tested—typically marked by “UL” or “ETL/ITSNA.” Finally, make sure that any lights used outside are rated for outdoor use, and can withstand possible inclement weather.
Child- and pet-proof your decorations. Check all decorations for possible breakage or damage, particularly if you share your home with small children or pets who could be injured by or swallow small pieces. Remove glass items and glass ornaments to higher locations in the home where they’ll be sufficiently out-of-reach from paws and small hands. Likewise, make sure that cords for any indoor decorative lights are out-of-reach or sufficiently out-of-sight to avoid having them tugged or chewed upon. Low-hanging decorative elements and fabrics should also be avoided, particularly if attached to (or laying underneath) heavy items. Any heavy items placed above eye level should be firmly secured.
Check your walkways. Both indoors and outdoors, ensure that your decorations leave ample room for guests and household members to navigate pathways, hallways and stairwells. Be aware of potential tripping hazards, and keep all lawn ornaments and decorations set off of the sidewalk to permit safe passage in front of your home.
Check your tree. Finally, if your holiday decoration plans include a Christmas tree, be sure to follow common sense safety rules. Artificial trees should be labelled “fire resistant” to mitigate potential fire danger. Live trees should be purchased as freshly as possible, and should be watered regularly to keep the tree from drying out. Remember that the tree should be set back from walkways in the home, and should never block doorways. For homes with young children and pets, keep lights off of the bottom third of the tree, and only use soft ornaments on this section. Alternatively, block access to the tree using an expandable gate. All trees should be weight-anchored to prevent them falling or being pulled over.