Taking Down Decorations? Read This!

Whether you are putting your holiday decorations away this weekend or waiting until the New Year, we want to provide these guidelines to help you accomplish this task as safely as possible!

Only Store the Good Lights

Taking down holiday lights is a great opportunity to do a little damage control.  Look closely at your strands as you remove them.  If there are burnt bulbs or fraying wires, it is time to retire that string.  Make separate boxes for indoor and outdoor lights so they are not mistaken and misused next year.  If you are worried you will forget to replace bad lights, make a list of what you will need next year and put it on the top of the box.  Better yet, buy them now so you can pack them with the other decorations!

Don’t Leave the Tree Inside for Too Long…

Keep a close eye on your tree as the season progresses.  If it starts drinking less water and dropping more needles, then you may not want to leave it up much longer.  To earn a little more time with it in the house, you could remove the lights and heavy ornaments.  However, keep heat sources like candles or space heaters even further away from it to ensure it will not become a fire.

…and Properly Dispose of It When the Time Comes

The ornaments are boxed, the lights organized and put away, now the tree needs to go!  You set it outside while you clean up the fallen needles, get distracted, then before you realize it, the tree sits in your backyard for three months.  This is a huge fire hazard, especially if it sits rotting near your house or fence.  When it’s time to remove your tree, make sure you actually dispose of it the same day it leaves the house.

Some organizations will come pick them up in exchange for a donation.  Your local government may have designated dumping spots for Christmas trees.  If your tree is very dry you may even burn it in your fire pit.  If you do, be sure to clear an appropriate space, check for flammables, stay with the fire at all times, and keep your fire extinguisher handy!

Planning Ahead for the Next Year

There are a few other things you can do to plan ahead for a safe holiday season next year as you end this one.  You can put a few extra packs of batteries in with your decorations in case your smoke detectors are running low.  You can print a copy of our Holiday Safety Checklist and stow it away to use as you prepare next year.  You can purchase safer alternatives for some of your seasonal items while they are on sale: such as battery-powered candles, flame-resistant garlands, or electric blankets with automatic off settings.

By using these tips as your guide, you can make sure the New Year’s fireworks are the only thing smoking at the end of this season and invest in a safer holiday for the year to come.  We hope everyone enjoyed safe and happy holidays!