Holiday Safety Tips for Decking Your Halls


The holidays are all about having fun and enjoying yourself with friends and family. It’s worth a few extra precautions to make sure that all the added decorations and festivities don’t cause problems for your nearest and dearest.

As a family man with 4 kids, safety is really important to me around Christmas time!

Keeping Your Christmas Tree Magical

They’re beautiful and magical once the decorations are hung, the lights are twinkling and a soft layer of snow is falling outside. But there are a few basic things to keep in mind about the gorgeous conifer taking up residence in your living room.

Not a Good Idea

The first is getting it home safely; there is a correct way to safely tie down a Christmas tree to your vehicle, and will tell you exactly what it is in painstaking detail. You may agree or disagree with their ratchet strap recommendation, but it is definitely safer than ropes or bungee cords. Of course you can also just throw it in the back of your pickup if you’ve got one, and that’s another argument you can make for why you need a truck. But we digress.

The second is to make sure your tree stand is solid as all get out. Cheaper stands can be a bit flimsy, and may only be suitable for smaller trees. Your tree stand is one of those items you should splurge on.

The third is to keep it watered to keep the needles from drying out. This can be a heinous task with all those spiky needles, but you can pick up a watering can with a long spout from a hardware store to make it a little easier. If you really want to engineer a great solution, rig up a funnel to a tube with some good old duck tape. You’ll also want to make sure the stand can hold up to a gallon of water, and that the base of the tree is always wet so it doesn’t dry up and stop taking up water. Check your tree stand once every couple of days to make sure it isn’t drying out, and add water when it is. This will keep it looking fresh and, more importantly, keep it from becoming a fire hazard.

Tree disposal services are typically offered by most cities post-holiday; check your area’s waste disposal website for more information.

Safely Installing And Operating Lights

If you are one of those great people who decorates the outside of your house to make sure Santa knows where you are, chances are you have decorating down to a science. You already know to have a solid base for your ladder and the best access points for your roof to stay safe. But for the rest of us, follow these handy tips:

  • Set up lights on a timer to go off after a certain time
  • Always unplug your Christmas tree lights at night
  • Avoid decorating or lighting outdoor trees near power lines
  • Use LED lights where possible to save energy and reduce potential fire risks – if your lights are more than a decade old you should replace them
  • Only use outdoor decorations with a ground on the plug (three prongs rather than two) – and make sure your outdoor outlets have ground fault interrupters

Keeping Everything Kid-Safe

If you have younger children, I know this sounds like common sense, but from personal experience, make sure to choose tree decorations without points on them. If you have family heirloom decorations that may not be kid-friendly, put them high enough on the tree that the kids can’t reach them and use ball ornaments or other decorations on the lower branches.

Make sure candles, electrical cords and other kid no-nos are well out of reach.
See BabyCenter for more tips on how to keep your kids safe around decorations.

Whatever you do this holiday season, make sure to play it safe, don't take unnecessary risks!

From all of us at First Foundation, have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

President of First Foundation Residential Mortgages and First Foundation Insurance. Live in Edmonton but cheer for the Riders. I have lots of kids. Follow me on Twitter @gordmccallum

Learn more about Gordon McCallum