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When it comes to holiday decor, there are lots of differing opinions, like when’s the right time to put it all up and take it down or whether to get a real or artificial tree. But personal style and timing preferences aside, according to Southern Living, there are some real safety issues to keep in mind when decking the halls at your home. So, no matter when you do it, avoid these common holiday decor disasters waiting to happen.

  • Too many candles too close – Sure, they look festive, but according to the National Fire Protection Association, Christmas Day sets the record for fires started by candles with almost three times the daily average. More than half of them are from candles being too close to items like decorations and furniture, so you may just want to switch to the battery-operated ones.
  • Buying the wrong tree – If you like a live evergreen, make sure it’s fresh with needles that bend, not break, and look for sticky resin on the bottom. If you buy a new artificial tree, look for one labeled “fire resistant.”
  • Putting the tree in the wrong place – Christmas trees are NOT the leading cause of holiday fires, but being near heat sources makes them a risk. So don’t set your tree up near radiators, vents, heaters or fireplaces, which can all dry them out. FEMA recommends putting them at least three feet from any heat source.
  • Poisonous plants – Pet owners beware, some flowers and plants can be dangerous for four-legged family members. The American Veterinary Medical Association reports that seasonal favorites like mistletoe, holly, pine and poinsettias could harm pets.
  • Too much tinsel – Another risk to pets? Ribbon, string and tinsel that curious cats and dogs may be tempted to eat can cause intestinal blockages.
  • Ladder injuries – The Consumer Product Safety Commission(CPSC) reports around 200 decorating-related injuries during the holiday season and about half of them are related to falls. Avoid being one of them by using the right ladder for the job, making sure it’s on level, solid ground and wear shoes when you go up.
  • Electrical overload – Sorry Clark Griswold, the CPSC advises no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord. And be sure to toss any cords and lights that are frayed, loose or otherwise damaged.

Source: Southern Living