Holiday decorating safety tips


The winter holidays are a special time of year that calls for merriment and celebration. A fun and festive way to celebrate the holiday season is by decorating your space, whether it’s your home, garden or office. However, when they aren’t used properly, decorations can be a safety hazard. With a bit of planning, your display can last the whole season. 

In this Kwiksure article, we’ll offer some holiday decorating safety tips to ensure you and your loved ones enjoy safe decorative displays. 

Prepping your holiday display 

Before setting up any holiday displays, be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully so you know how to use it properly. Additionally, apply the following practices to make sure your holiday decorations and lights are installed correctly. 

  • Plan your display based on the location and number of available outlets. Never overload electrical outlets. 
  • Use lights that have been safety tested and have certification marks, such as UL, ETL, or CSA. Think about swapping regular lights for LED ones instead, which emit less heat, last longer, and are more efficient than incandescent lights. 
  • Never exceed the maximum amount of linked devices or strings, which you can find on the decoration packaging. 
  • Double-check lights and decorations for frayed wires, cracks, and damaged sockets. Defects such as these can cause an electric shock or a serious fire. 
  • Make sure indoor lights are not touching curtains, carpeting, or furniture. Candles should also not be placed near any flammable items. 
  • Check that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working, as well as the batteries inside of them.

To top it off, if you have any children in your home, you should:

  • Put safety caps on any electrical outlets that are not in use.
  • Store items that can be swallowed by children and keep sharp objects out of reach.

Decorating safely 

  • Unplug electrical devices, decorations, and lights before installing/replacing bulbs, making repairs, or changing parts. 
  • If you’re decorating the exterior of your home, make sure yourself and your decorations are at least 10 feet away from power lines.
  • Ensure decorations are protected from weather, are a safe distance from flammable items, and have enough ventilation. 
  • When securing lights, cords, and decorations, do not fasten, nail/tack, or stable through electrical wires or extension cords in a way that can damage the insulation or wire, as this could result in electrical shock or fire. 
  • Always use a proper ladder with someone holding the base when hanging up lights and decorations that you cannot reach normally.
  • Place live trees away from heat sources, such as heaters and fireplaces, and keep a fire extinguisher nearby. The needles and sap on live trees make them highly flammable. 
  • Keep live trees hydrated so they are less likely to catch fire. Checking the water level every other day is a good way to make sure they are properly hydrated. 
  • If you choose an artificial tree, make sure it is fire resistant. 
  • If you’re decorating with “angel hair”, or spun glass, be sure to wear gloves to avoid irritating your skin and eyes. 
  • When buying artificial snow spray, make sure you get one that is non-flammable.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended. Rest candles on a sturdy base to avoid tipping. 

During the holiday season

  • Install a timer or turn off lights before you leave the house or before going to bed. 
  • Consider using battery-operated candles instead of traditional candles to prevent fire hazards. If you do use candles, keep them away from combustible or flammable items and materials, including fabrics, decorations, and paper or plastic products. 
  • Keep candles, lighters, and matches out of children’s reach. 
  • Do not smoke near flammable decorations. 
  • Avoid wearing loose clothes near open flames, especially sleeves that are long and open.
  • Come up with an emergency plan in case a fire breaks out. Make sure that every family member knows exactly what to do, and practice the plan at least once. 

The best way you can decorate safely during the holidays is to plan for safety. Common sense goes a long way, especially when it comes to decorating. Keep an eye out for, and remove, any potential danger spots close to candles, trees, fireplaces, and electrical connections. 

Packing and storing decorations

  • Inspect and get rid of any damaged decorations before packing and storing them. 
  • Store decorations in a dry place that children and pets cannot reach. 
  • Make sure boxes are stable when stacking them. To avoid damage or injury, never stack boxes higher than eye level. 

Protect your home with insurance

By taking the appropriate precautions, you can prevent hazards and focus on your loved ones during the holiday season. Remember to check decorations and lights regularly throughout the holidays to make sure they’re operating safely. 

Fire insurance and home insurance can give you peace of mind knowing that your home and assets are protected. Fire insurance covers any damage to your home’s fixtures or building structure that is caused by fire. While fire insurance generally protects structures, property insurance covers any loss and damage to your home assets caused by unforeseen hazards and accidents - regardless of whether you own a home or are a resident or a tenant. 

Contact us at Kwiksure to talk to one of our expert advisors about home insurance, fire insurance, and other types of insurance we provide today.