Everyone wants to have a happy holiday season but that can quickly be taken away. Follow these easy holiday safety tips to keep everything safe and happy all Christmas long!
Christmas is such a wonderful time of the year but there are hazards that can come along with it. The last thing we want is a big disaster or someone getting hurt.
I have a few family members that have had fires. That experience plus living many of my years in the country where there are grassfires most years has really made me extra caution about fires. I say extra caution but really it is a pretty big fear.
With lights, candles, Christmas trees, fireplaces, etc… we do increase the risk of fires around the holiday season. This doesn’t have to be a concern though if we take some extra safety measures.
My dad is actually a volunteer firefighter so I have learned a lot of fire safety throughout my life. Being caution and prepared can help alleviate fears and reduce your risk a lot.
Fires aren’t the only risks involved with the holidays, there are many things we should be cautious about. It doesn’t have to be stressful if you just do a few easy things.
Holiday Safety Tips
Christmas Tree Safety
Christmas trees result in 13 million dollars, annually, in property damage! And if you have ever seen one of the videos of a real Christmas tree catching on fire you know it gets very dangerous, very fast.
- Always look for a very fresh tree. Check for vibrant green needles that don’t break off easily. If you see a lot of shedding skip that tree!
- Keep your tree watered. This will help keep it from drying out as quickly.
- Don’t leave it up too long. This is part of why I love artificial Christmas trees, you can keep them out as long as you want. With the real thing, you want to limit how long you have it. Starting to look really dry? It’s time to go! Four weeks is generally considered the longest you should keep a real tree.
- Never place your tree near a heat source like a fireplace, candles, heat vents, radiators, or lights.
- Use LED Christmas lights. LED Christmas lights don’t get as hot as tradition Christmas lights so they are a lot safer.
- Turn off the lights at night or when you leave the house. Even with LED, it’s best to turn off the lights before you leave.
Most of these tips, other than making sure it’s fresh, are good practice for artificial trees as well. They are much less prone to fires, especially since most are now fire-retardant but that doesn’t mean fire-proof.
Who wants food poisoning during the holidays? I highly doubt anyone. With all the holiday parties and food being left out questionable amounts of time the risk can be a bit higher.
Food safety is something I take very seriously. I hate throwing up and avoid it at all costs. Some would say I’m overly cautious but I’m sick a lot less than most so I’m okay with it.
- Wash your hands before eating or preparing food. This should be basic but given studies on how little people wash their hands it’s clear most are not practicing good handwashing practices. You should wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizer is not a replacement for handwashing.
- When shopping, put refrigerated foods in your cart last. Also be sure not to allow raw meat to touch produce. And always check dates and for signs of freshness.
- Cook raw meat to the correct temperatures. And store correctly. It’s best to freeze or cook raw meat within 2 days.
- Don’t thaw on your countertop. You can thaw meat safely in ice water, in the fridge, or via microwave. Or you can cook your frozen meat while still frozen quickly with an Instant Pot. This is my favorite method.
- Wash all produce. I even wash greens that say they have been washed. It takes almost no time at all and produce is actually the most common source of food poisoning. I like to use Biokleen Produce Wash but white vinegar also works well.
- Don’t wash poultry. There is a common misconception that you should wash poultry. That can actually spread germs around your kitchen and the germs are killed while cooking so you aren’t helping anyway.
- Put leftovers away within 2 hours. And eat or freeze them within 3-4 days.
These are just my top food safety tips. If you feel like you need more of a refresher check out this great list of food safety tips.
Another thing you want to keep in mind during the holidays is food allergies, even if you don’t have one. I’m allergic to mushrooms and the holidays can quickly turn deadly if I’m not careful or if a host is careless.
If hosting ask your guests if they have any food allergies. If you don’t feel comfortable filling those needs let them know ahead of time so they can prepare. I don’t mind bringing my own food or eating before if I know I should.
Christmas Light Safety
I have Christmas lights all over my home, inside and outside. There is nothing like the glow of Christmas lights to put you in the Christmas spirit. They can also cause fires or electric shocks so it’s important to use them correctly.
- Turn off your lights when you go to bed or aren’t home.
- Be sure to use outdoor safe lights outside.
- Use LED Christmas lights instead of traditional Christmas lights. Like I talked about with Christmas trees, these lights get less hot and are safer.
- Make sure not to use too many lights per outlet. You will need to do some math with the strands’ wattage and maximum watt capacity of the outlet. If you are unsure go for three or less. A power strip with a built-in circuit breaker adds more protection.
- Skip the vintage lights. I love vintage decorations but stick to the mercury bulb ornaments and skip the lights. Modern lights have fused plugs which are safer.
- Don’t use electric lights on aluminum trees. I see this mistake every year. Aluminum trees are a fun retro Christmas decoration but they used color wheels for a reason. They can conduct electricity and shock you.
I love candles all year but especially during the holidays. They bring warmth to the room and can make the whole house smell amazing. They can also be dangerous if used incorrectly.
- Keep out of reach of children and pets. Make sure the candle can’t be touched or knocked off. Not only could it cause a fire but the hot wax could burn the child or pet.
- Keep away from your tree or anything else flammable.
- Never leave a candle unattended.
- Keep dust cleaned off of candles as it can spark when you light the candle.
Another risk we often forget about is lead. We often think because lead paint was banned we are safe but lead is still in a lot of products. Christmas items are often surprisingly high in lead.
Artificial Christmas trees and Christmas lights are two big sources of lead around the holidays. These tips help reduce the risk.
- Look for Christmas trees with more PE plastic than PVC. PVC is often the source of the lead.
- Dust often with a wet rag to keep dust that could contain lead down.
- Vacuum often with a HEPA filter vacuum.
- Don’t allow kids to touch the tree or lights.
- When anyone is handling the tree or lights make sure they wash their hands well after.