With the holiday season upon us, it's time to start thinking about your plans for decorating.

Decorating usually marks the unofficial "beginning" of each family's holiday season, and can be an exciting tradition in its own right. If you want a happy and healthy holiday, be sure to follow these safety tips for decorating your home.


Tree Safety

If you're bringing a live tree into your house, be aware of the safety issues that can arise. While a Balsam or Fraser Fir can smell great and feel very traditional, a dry tree is an extremely dangerous fire hazard. When purchasing a tree, ensure it is freshly cut by checking how easily the needles fall off. When your tree is up, ensure it is well hydrated by watering it at least once a day. 

If you're pulling an artificial tree out of storage, double check that it is made from fire resistant, non-flammable materials. Older "fake" trees may not have been up to today's safety standards. Always remember to turn the tree lights off when you aren't home.


Check Lights and Cords for Damage

Part of the excitement of the holiday season is the use of decorative lights and electronic ornaments. But if you've been storing tangled strings of lights in boxes for the past 11 months, always give them a close inspection before you hang them up and plug them in. Look for frayed wires or broken bulbs, and replace the damaged lights or electronics immediately. 


Beware of Poisonous Plants

There are many beautiful plants that people purchase during the winter holiday season, either as gifts or to decorate their own home. However, several are them can be poisonous and dangerous. Poinsettias - one of the most common holiday plants - are highly toxic to pets. Consider red roses instead.  

Other common holiday plants like holly and mistletoe are very toxic to humans, and can cause severe cramping or even be fatal if ingested. If you must have these plants around your home, keep an eye on any young children to make sure they don't find and eat these plants. Better yet, choose to buy the artificial decorative versions and you'll be able to safely enjoy them year after year.