There’s nothing quite like the holiday season. Lights on every home, yard ornaments, Christmas trees with twinkling lights, and snow softly falling on the roof of your new home. If you’ve recently moved into a custom home, it’s probably exciting to think about all the holiday decorating possibilities this year, but it is important to make sure you’re doing it safely. A lot of holiday decorations can present some hazards, so it’s best to go about your decorating process in a safe and informed way. Here are a few things to know about decorating your new custom home this year to ensure your decorations are festive and safe:

Keep tree away from heat

You’d be surprised at how many Christmas trees burst into flames every year. With fireplaces, furnaces, and candles roaring over the holiday season, it doesn’t take much for a tree to go up in flames. Be sure to place your Christmas tree far away from the fireplace and any other heat source, and water it often. That will help keep your tree hydrated, lessening its flammability.

Buy safe lights—indoor and outdoor

The best way to determine if you’re purchasing quality holiday lights is to check for the holographic UL mark that shows the lights have been approved. Underwriters Lab is an independent, private company that conducts testing on holiday lights, and if the lights you purchase have the holographic UL mark, then they’ve been deemed fit for use on trees and otherwise. A green label means the lights are for indoor use only, and a red label means they’re good for indoor and outdoor use.

Check lights for signs of damage

Before you hang any lights, indoors or out, you’ll want to make sure there are no wires showing or cracks in the casing. This is an indication that the lights are hazardous and could cause a fire. It’s a good idea to run through each string of lights to check for missing bulbs, as well as signs of damage. Also be sure to use special holiday light hanging hooks when placing lights rather than nails, screws, or metal hooks. Light hooks are specially made to not puncture the plastic coating around wires, keeping you safe from electrocution, and your custom home safe from fire.

Plug lights into different outlets and set timers

If you’re going for a Christmas Vacation look on the outside of your custom home this year, you’ll want to make sure you don’t overload your electrical circuits. Be sure that you’re plugging lights into different outlets, and set timers so lights and circuits don’t overheat from prolonged use. The same goes for indoor lights. It’s also good to turn off the Christmas tree lights before you go to bed to ensure they don’t overheat and catch the tree on fire.

Avoid sharp, breakable ornaments if you have kids or pets

While some of those antique ornaments hold a lot of sentimental value, you’ll want to leave them in a box or put them high up on the tree. They’re pretty enticing to both kids and kittens, which can lead to falls and broken glass. To avoid any unwanted injuries, consider using those decorations somewhere other than the tree, or at least put them near the top, securely on the branch.

Beware of candles

Though they do smell amazing, holiday candles can also be fire hazards. It’s a good idea to make sure they’re on sturdy, stable bases so they won’t tip over and blow them out when you leave the house. You’ll also want to make sure you keep candles away from the Christmas tree and any curtains or drapery.

Poinsettias are poisonous

This one might come as a surprise. Even though poinsettias are gorgeous holiday flowers often given as gifts around this time of year, they’re actually poisonous. They’re dangerous to humans when ingested, so you’ll definitely need to keep these out of reach if you have kids.

Once you’ve got these holiday safety decorating tips down, get to decorating! Whether you have reindeer in the front yard, an elf on the shelf, or stockings on the mantle, we’re sure your custom home will look splendid for the season. The folks at Whitmore Custom Homes wish you luck in your decorating endeavors and Happy Holidays from all of us here at the office!

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