Your Guide to Safe Holiday Decorating

Your Guide to Holiday Decorating Safety

Family practices safe holiday decorating

'Tis the season to trim the tree and watch the ladder step while you're at it. Holiday decorating can be hazardous if you're not careful. Help keep it fun and festive with these holiday safety tips:

Electrical safety

  • Only make purchases from trusted retailers to avoid the risk of purchasing counterfeit products.
  • Be sure to buy decorations according to your intended use outdoors or indoors.
  • Always buy electrical equipment that displays a label indicating it has undergone independent testing by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Intertek (ETL) or Canadian Standards Association (CSA).
  • Don't use lights without fused plugs.
  • Inspect lights for broken sockets, frayed wires and loose connections. Dispose of any damaged sets.
  • Never connect more than three strands of lights together.
  • Avoid overloading electrical outlets with too many decorations or electrical devices, as they can overheat and cause a fire.
  • Always plug outdoor electrical decorations into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs).
  • Turn off all electrical decorations when you leave the house or go to sleep.

Ladder safety

  • Never use furniture as a ladder.
  • Always inspect and clean your ladder before climbing onto it.
  • Follow the 1-to-4 rule for extension ladders: For every four feet the ladder rises, move the base out one foot from the structure.
  • Always keep three points of contact on the ladder: two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand.
  • Keep your hips between the side rails. Climb down and move the ladder if you can't reach an area.

Fire safety

  • Avoid using candles when possible, and consider using battery-operated candles in place of traditional candles.
  • If you do use candles, keep them at least 12 inches from flammable material.
  • Only use fire-resistant artificial trees.
  • Make sure live trees have green pine needles that don't fall off easily or break when bent, and look for sticky resin on the trunk.
  • Never place a tree by a fireplace, radiator or other heat source.
  • Always use noncombustible or flame-resistant tree decorations.
  • Avoid decorating the mantel with stockings, greenery or other flammable decorations if you use your fireplace frequently.

For more information, see how to have a safe holiday season and how to avoid holiday decorating hazards.


The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm®. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under our policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.