December 14, 2022


‘Tis the season – for some tips on holiday safety!

It’s hard to deny that November and December are the most anticipated months of the year. Between gift-giving, food, and family time, what’s not to love?

Oh, that’s right – the stress.

It wouldn’t be the holidays if something didn’t go awry, right? One year it’s the hassle of hanging up the Christmas lights, and the next, it’s burning the dinner turkey.

So, to make your holiday season more enjoyable, Pacesetter Homes laid out some advice for anything that could possibly go wrong.

From wrapping paper recycling to fire safety at home, here are tips on how to have a safe, fun, and merry holiday season!

5 Tips for Holiday Safety

1. Christmas Tree Safety

Christmas decoration. Red balls hanging on pine branches Christmas tree garland and ornaments over abstract bokeh background with copy space

Would you believe that there are about 160 home fires started every year from Christmas trees?

Yup, the National Fire Protection Association Estimates between 2016 – 2020, these fire accidents caused on average 11 injuries, 2 deaths, and over $12 million in property damages.

Most of these fires started in December or January as natural Christmas trees start to dry up. What’s even scarier is the fact that the peak time for when these fires start is between 6 p.m. to midnight – when most of us are asleep.

So how can you prevent this Christmas disaster?

Decorative lighting accounts for 19% of these fires, you should start by making sure your Christmas lights don’t have any frayed wires or broken bulbs. If they do, it’s time to replace them. Cords, plugs, and wiring are another contributing factor. So, it’s worth investigating their state when you are installing them, as well as the condition of your outlets and other home fixtures such as nearby lamps.

And as always, unplug your tree before going to bed!

2. Be Careful in the Kitchen

You may know your way around the kitchen, but we all know how chaotic it can be when cooking dinner for extended family. With so much going on, even the most expertly choreographed chefs are prone to slip up. To eliminate any mishaps this holiday season, here are a few things to be mindful of before prepping your extravagant dinner.

  • Thoroughly clean your kitchen surfaces: This diminishes grease buildup and frees up counter space.
  • Be mindful of clothing: Roll up your sleeves while cooking on the oven or over the grill. Also, be aware of loose towels or oven mitts. Try only to have one or two handy while you’re working.
  • Know your oven safety: Set timers for everything so nothing gets burned, keep kids and pets out of the kitchen, and try to clean as you go.

3. Fire Safety at Home

Evacuation plans, smoke detector and manual call point on white background

Speaking of house fires, it’s about time to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detector alarms.

Smoke alarm batteries typically need to be changed out every 6-12 months, unless they are sealed units. You shouldn’t need to replace your alarm unless your smoke alarm is 10 years old.

Here’s how to test your smoke alarm to make sure they are working properly:

  • Find the button on your smoke alarm
  • Press and hold down the button until you hear the siren
  • Replace the alarm’s battery if the siren sounds weak, low, or distored

CO detectors can be plug-ins for your wall, or they’re embedded into your home’s electrical system. The latter should have a battery backup which you need to replace once or twice a year.

Here’s how to test your CO detector to make sure it’s working:

  • Find the “test” button
  • Press and hold down the button until you hear 2-4 beeps
  • Replace the alarm’s batteries if you don’t hear beeps

Your family and guests should know your fire escape plan. Your plan should include at least two exit options, the location of your fire extinguisher and where to meet outside your home (the end of your driveway is always a safe place).

In case of an emergency, you should have two primary exits, so make sure nothing is blocking them.

4. Change Those Air Filters

Detail of old used dirty furnace filter from above

The type of air filter you have dictates how often you need to change it. If you have a disposable fiberglass air filter, you’ll want to change it every 30 days. For pleated air filters, you can go as long as three months before having to pop in a new one.

To air (pun intended) on the side of caution, we recommend checking up on the condition of your filter once a month. This is especially true for homeowners who have pets, allergies, or larger homes.

So don’t forget to replace those filters so that your holiday guests can take a breath of fresh air. Literally, a new air filter can help eliminate pesticides, cleaning supplies, pollen, dust, and dander!

5. Recycle Wrapping Paper

Whatever you do, do not burn your wrapping paper!

Throwing bows and ribbons into the fireplace might be a holiday tradition for your family, but it’s an ongoing problem in the U.S. The color pigments in your gift wrap can cause a chemical reaction when they burn, creating an insidious (and hazardous) flame.

Remember to recycle that wrapping paper this year, not rekindle it.

If you genuinely want to maintain an environment-friendly holiday, try to avoid using these items in your gift wrapping:

  • Bows: These aren’t recyclable, and they cause a mess at paper mills. However, you can recycle them by saving all the bows in a bin to reuse them next year!
  • Ribbon: You know how frustrating it is when a ribbon gets wrapped up in your vacuum? Imagine that happening to machines at your local waste facility because of all the Christmas ribbon.
  • Glittery or metallic wrapping paper: Recycling wrapping paper is a great idea – in theory. But not all wrapping materials are created equal in the eyes of the sustainable community. According to this blog, “Wrapping paper cannot be recycled if it contains sparkles, glitter, foil, artificial texture, sticky gift labels, or plastic. Nor can it be recycled if it has been laminated or has loads of leftover tape, ribbons, or bows still attached.”

And there you have it! Pacesetter Homes 5 holiday safety tips, follow these recommended tips on how to have a safe, fun, and merry holiday season!