Fireplace with Christmas decoration

The holiday season comes with the much-anticipated ritual of hanging the lights and installing festive decorations. And every year, consumers purchase and install holiday decorations without realizing the potential electrical safety hazards.

To help avoid these risks, here are holiday safety tips, courtesy of Electrical Safety Authority.

  1. Lights are rated for indoor or outdoor use. Read the package instructions, and never exceed the recommended wattage.
  2. Always purchase electrical decorations from reputable retailers to avoid counterfeit products. Also look for a recognized certification mark to prove they have been tested and meet safety standards.
  3. No more than three light strings can be safely connected together in most cases — read manufacturers’ instructions for directions.
  4. Make sure bulbs don’t touch supply cords, wires, cloth, paper, or any material.
  5. Use the proper clips for securing lights and decorations. Staples and nails can damage electrical cords!
  6. Check for overhead powerlines before using a ladder outside or when you’re hanging lights on trees.
  7. Watch that children don’t put electrical decorations or cords in their mouths.
  8. Keep an eye on pets–they may chew or damage electrical cords.
  9. Turn off holiday lights and decorations when you leave the house or go to bed.
  10. Holiday decorations aren’t designed for year-round use and can deteriorate over time. Take them down when the holidays are over.
  11. Never use damaged extensions cords – they can lead to a nasty shock – and avoid plugging too many lights and decorations into an outlet. Overloaded circuits can overheat and start a fire.

For more holiday safety tips, videos and checklists, visit