Show all alerts

Decorate safely for the holidays

Sparkling lights and dazzling decorations are hallmarks of the holiday season. Make sure your holiday decorating is done with safety in mind.

14 tips for a safer holiday season

  1. Use only holiday lights that have been safety tested and have the UL label.
  2. Before decorating, check each light strand for broken sockets, frayed cords, or faulty plugs.
  3. Always be sure to unplug the lights when replacing a bulb.
  4. Don’t string together more than three standard-size sets of lights or you could risk overheating the circuit.
  5. Outdoors, use only lights, cords, animated displays and decorations rated for outdoor use.
  6. Cords should be plugged into outlets equipped with ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). Use a portable GFCI if your outdoor outlets don’t have them.
  7. Take extra care not to throw strings of lights over tree branches that are near power lines and service connections.
  8. Place fresh-cut trees away from heat sources—such as heat registers, fireplaces, radiators, and televisions.
  9. Also, remember to water fresh-cut trees frequently.
  10. Match plugs with outlets. Don’t force a three-pronged plug into a two-pronged outlet or extension cord.Don’t remove the third prong.
  11. Keep electric cords out of high-traffic areas. Do not run them through doorways; staple, nail, or tack them to the wall; or hide them under rugs or carpets.
  12. Always unplug lights before going to bed or leaving your home. Make sure extension cords are in good condition and are UL-approved cords rated to carry the electrical load you will connect to them.
  13. Don’t let children or pets play with light strands for electrical decorations.
  14. If you spot an electrical danger—such as flickering or dimming lights or sparks from outlets, plugs, or cords—make sure to unplug the malfunctioning appliance immediately and get a replacement.

We wish you and yours a bright, safe holiday season.

Sign up for our newsletter Get updates

View Newsletter Archive