Holiday decorating is a great way to bring a family together and get into the spirit of the season. But it can also be dangerous if not done carefully. Here are 5 common safety mistakes that are easy to avoid for a safe holiday.


Poisonous Plants

poison plants during the holidays

Plants like poinsettia and mistletoe are standards at many Christmas celebrations, as are lilies at Easter. However, if not handled properly, they can lead to a very unpleasant holiday for families with children or pets who may ingest these toxic decorations. Consider using artificial plants instead, which have the benefit of being reusable from year to year. Or, if you love the real thing, make sure these decorations are placed safely out of reach of kids and pets.


Small Ornaments

christmas cookies with dove on them

Those tiny snowflakes, decorative Easter eggs, or other small ornaments can make a great accent to other decorations, but they can also pose a choking hazard for small children, who are drawn to the candy-like colors. According to Baby Center, a good rule of thumb is that kids can choke on anything smaller than their fists, so leave those miniatures in the attic if you have small children.


Dried-Out Greenery

christmas tree with presents garland and wreath around a fireplace

Live Christmas trees smell wonderful and look great. But be sure to keep them well-watered, or the needles will become highly flammable. According to protectyourhome.com, there were 365,000 reported fires in the United States in 2015. These fires resulted in 2,650 deaths and nearly 7B worth of direct property damage. Many of these fires were a direct result of dry Christmas trees. Keep an eye on the color and trim any areas that begin to look yellow or brown.


Old Lights

old broken dangerous christmas light strand

If the same few strings of lights have been kicking around in the attic for the last few years, it may be time to invest in some new ones. As the lights age, the insulation around the wires can wear away, leaving them exposed. This can cause fire or electrocution, so be sure to give them a careful once-over before use. We recommend you update your holiday lighting to LEDs before you next deploy your lights.


Power Outlets

too many plugs plugged into one outlet

Finally, don’t plug everything into one outlet. Check the voltage on your lights and any other electronic decorations to make sure you’re not risking an overload, especially if you live in an older building. For added safety, use surge protectors to protect against sudden power surges.


Holiday decorating can be a lot of fun, and if you use some easy, common-sense precautions, it can be safe too.