Country Thoughts

Posted: November 10, 2020

Safety Tips for a Jollier Holiday Season

The winter holiday season comes with its own unique safety needs. Whether its tree and holiday plant safety, holiday decorations, or holiday shopping, these tips can help keep your festivities holly and jolly.

Tree & holiday plant safety

1. Buy your tree from a local farm! Transported trees are usually cut earlier than locally grown trees and are more likely to be dry, which make them more prone to catching fire. If there are no local tree farms near you, ask how long ago your tree was cut down.

2. Is your tree parched? Shake the tree to see if it’s in need of some hydration. If green needles fall off, then the tree is dry. If brown needles fall from the inside, they likely fell years ago but were just trapped inside the tree. Either way, seeing what falls off your tree can be a good indicator of whether the tree is a potential fire hazard or not.

3. Cut one inch off the base of the tree – this helps water move more easily through the trunk and keeps your tree green. Many vendors will do this for you – just ask!

4. Speaking of water, once you pick the most festive tree, make sure you’re checking the water level daily. A six-foot tree should use a gallon of water every two days.

5. Keep those branches lovely – place the tree away from heat sources that could dry the tree out or cause a fire, such as indoor heaters or open flames.

6. Certain holiday plants – such as poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe – are toxic to humans and animals when ingested, so it’s important to keep them out of reach of kids and pets.

Holiday decorations

1. When decking the halls, keep indoor lights, indoor lighted decorations, and indoor extension cords inside the house – in many cases, these are not created for outdoor use.

2. Whether you’re purchasing decorations for your tree or are purchasing an artificial tree, only buy materials with a “fire resistant” label.

3. Limit use of decorations that have small parts and sharp edges, or that resemble food or candy. If you do use these decorations, keep them out of the reach of children.

4. Synchronizing your outdoor lights to a holiday soundtrack to be the envy of the neighborhood? Use only outdoor approved lights, lit decorations and extension cords. Of course, make sure to check all extension cords, lights, and lighted decorations for frays, loose connections, or damaged plugs. Finally, always unplug or turn off all decorations that use electricity before leaving the house or going to bed.

5. Candles, lighters, and matches all help to make the season bright, but they can also pose fire hazards. Keep candle wicks trimmed to 1/8 of an inch and keep all open flames away from trees and other evergreens, as well as curtains and other flammable surfaces.

Holiday shopping

Don’t let a grinch steal the holiday. Burglars are opportunistic, so keep your gifts from ending up in the wrong hands by keeping these things in mind:

1. Keep gift wrapped packages out of sight of your home’s windows and doors.

2. Plan ahead to retrieve any mail packages from your doorstep shortly after they arrive.

3. Don’t leave the boxes for those big-ticket items out on the street.  Instead, put them in black trash bags and don’t run them to the curb until trash day.  Now would-be thieves won’t see what new gadgets you unwrapped.

4. When shopping, try to do so during daylight hours. If you find that you need to shop at night, make an event out of it and take a friend with you. Always be aware of your surroundings. 5. Last, in all the bustle and hustle of the season, don’t forget to keep records of credit card information and transactions in a safe place at home.

Information provided by COUNTRY Financial®