Christmas time is known far and wide as “The most wonderful time of the year,” and while 2020 has left many of us saying “humbug,” this year should be no exception to spreading love and cheer- from near or far. There will still be Christmas trees glowing, candle flames burning, and yule logs on the fire. While this year may be quite different from our Christmases past, how we celebrate our Christmas present will help shape our Christmases future. So while we make the most of this special time of year, let’s put safety at the top of our Christmas list!
First things first, we need to address the Scrooge of the year: COVID-19. According to the CDC, it may be best to consider celebrating virtually with family and friends who are not a member of your immediate household. Hold your gathering outdoors where possible, or if you do choose to hold an indoor celebration, be wise and check your state and local health officials’ laws, rules and regulations to which gatherings must comply.
According to Creativesafetysupply.com, remember to turn off the electricity to the supply outlet before working on outdoor wiring. Use safe ladder practices while hanging out lights and decorations, or climbing onto the roof like Clark W. Griswold.
Have your chimney and flue cleaned. Dirty chimneys can lead to fires, plus think of how Santa will look covered in years’ worth of soot! Never burn wrapping paper, stray Christmas tree branches, or wreathes in your fireplace, and always use a fireplace screen. According to tasteofhome.com, whether your Christmas tree is real or artificial it’s best to keep it at a safe distance from a fireplace, solid fuel burning appliance (wood/pellet stoves), or other heat-producing sources.
If fresh-cut Christmas trees are a part of your family tradition, be sure to have the tree vendor cut off about 2 inches of the trunk to expose fresh wood so it can better drink up water and remain hydrated (as should you I). The trunk needs to be well secured in a strong stand that keeps it upright without leaning. Don’t chip away at the trunk of your tree to make it fit better in the stand. If it’s too wide, replace the stand (or the tree). You don’t want to crush Santa as he drops off your gifts. Always make sure that the tree has an abundant supply of water to keep it fresh and safe so you can enjoy it as long as possible.
If artificial trees are more your style, check that it’s labeled “fire resistant.” Be sure to use indoor lights indoors, and outdoor lights – you guessed it – outdoors. Check your lights for broken sockets or frayed wires, and always replace old or battered lights. Never overload electrical circuits or use too many extension cords. It is always wise to unplug the lights in your home when you leave or go to bed.
Place breakable ornaments higher up on the tree to prevent curious little hands from possible injury.
Be careful with candles. According to tasteofhome.com, the top three days for home fires started by candles are Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. Always make sure candles are in a stable holder on non-flammable surfaces away from flammable objects. Do not leave candles burning unattended. Always have a fire extinguisher in your home and easily accessible. Check your smoke alarms for functionality, replacing batteries when necessary.
Watch out for cyber fraud while shopping online! When shopping, always check that the web address you are visiting is spelled correctly as fraudulent websites can look just like the real thing, tricking you into giving away your credit card and other personal information. Always check that the website’s payment page begins with “https”…the “s” stands for “secure.” Never click links from unsolicited emails. Check out our “Protect Yourself While Shopping Online” post for more on cyber safety online.
For more safety tips, view our “Holiday Safety Tips” video:
2020 will soon be behind us so let’s celebrate and make the best of this holiday season by staying healthy and safe! The Central family wishes you all a happy and healthy holiday season.