Five Tips to Save Christmas

Five Tips to Save Christmas

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Chestnuts roasting on an open fire may sound warm, cuddly, and festive, but what happens when something pops and throws a hot ember on that comfy rug in front of the fireplace?

The winter holidays – from Thanksgiving to New Year and everything in between – are a time for family, friends, love, and memories. But the memories can quickly be soured by poor planning. Here are five tips to help make sure your holiday season is merry and bright.

  1. Don’t let your Christmas light extravaganza go up in smoke. Every year, hundreds of families are impacted as Christmas Trees erupt in flames. The cause? Overloaded outlets. The lights themselves are rarely a problem – especially if you’ve purchased your lights in the last decade. Safety features make the lights more cool to touch, reduce power usage, and include safety features to shut off the strand in case of a short. However, if you’re using a cheap extension cord, power strip, or other means of adding plugin sockets, these CAN cause a short, which could end in a fire.
  2. Deep fried turkey is delicious. Melted siding is not. If you’re going to deep fry your turkey, make sure that you don’t overfill the kettle with oil, make sure the bird is thawed, and don’t cook near the house. Combine the three and you’re almost guaranteed to have a grease fire engulfing your home.
  3. Christmas 2012Keep an eye on Fido and Kitty. Holiday decorations present unique dangers to pets. At the top of the list are extension cords. Chewers could be in for a big shock if they chew through a live extension cord. Glass ornaments are another risk. If knocked off of the tree, they could shatter, and a curious pet may eat the shards. One important holiday myth to point out is Poinsettias. Believe it or not, they are NOT extremely toxic to dogs or cats. Much more concerning for pets are lilies, holly, and mistletoe.
  4. Plan ahead. Long before your holiday event, plan out exactly what you’ll need. Some items to consider include:
    1. Dishes you’re expected to bring. Does your family go “pot luck” style? Make sure you know if you should be bringing a warm side, a salad, a desert, or anything else.
    2. Gifts. Make sure you know who you want to give gifts, and what they like.
    3. Directions. Make sure you know how to get to the party!
    4. Timelines. What time does the party start? What time do you need to leave? Factor in rest stops for little ones.
    5. Carefully tend all fires. This means fireplaces and candles. Fireplaces using wood logs should have mesh screens (at minimum) covering the front. These screens help prevent popping embers (expelled as water hits the boiling point and pushes out against the surrounding wood) from landing on carpet, rugs, or other flammable surfaces. Glass doors are an even better option. For candles, make sure that all burning candles are extinguished before turning in for bed. All it takes is a breeze, a pet’s tail (or curious sniffing), or a bleary eyed child to knock over a candle for disaster to strike.

With these simple tips, you can help ensure that your holidays are filled with love and joy, and skip the drama. Well, at least until the family shows up. Then you’re on your own.

About the author: Rich is a writer for Goedeker’s, an online retailer of discount home appliances, furniture, mattresses, and plumbing fixtures.

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