Christmas Lights: 12 Tips of Safety
Posted on 12/22/2022

You've been busy preparing for the holidays, and now that the celebrations are just around the corner, here are a few safety reminders to keep you and your family safe this holiday.

For the first tip for safety my emergency management team said to me....

1. Never leave your Christmas lights on unattended.

  • When you leave Christmas lights on for too long, they can become hot, creating a potential fire hazard.
  • Indoor Lights: If you leave the house even for a quick stop at the grocery store or go to bed, you should turn off your indoor Christmas lights.
  • Outdoor Lights: Connect your lights to a timer to make sure that they turn off during the day. It’s important to turn off your outside lights at least for a few hours a day.

2. Shine bright like an LED light.

  • LED (light-emitting diode) lights may be more expensive; they are safer, use less heat and more cost-effective for your energy bill, using 75% less electricity than incandescent light bulbs.
  • LED lights are the best option for both indoors and outdoors as they last 25 times longer than non-LED lights.
  • Do not wrap lights around animals or humans. The lights can get very bright and can cause serious burns and/or shocks.

3. Cheaper is not always better, read the labels.

  • It's essential to check the instructions and labels on a box of lights and extension cords that you buy. You cannot use Christmas lights for "indoor use" outside. Outside lights have a specific seal against moisture, and you could have severe home damage if you use the wrong lights that are not weatherproof. When in doubt, don't use the light outdoors; buy one that you know will be safe for the winter weather.

4. Make sure your light strings outside are securely fastened.

  • Outdoor Lights: Never use staples, tacks, or nails to hang lights. Plastic holders are considered safer. To prevent damage to your decorations, homes and outlets keep your lighted decorations firmly secure to the wall or where they belong.
  • Indoor Lights: Make sure they are secured and out of reach of children and animals, as they could cause accidental electrocution if chewed.

5. And use the right ladder when hanging lights.

  • When hanging lights, the Electrical Safety Foundation International said don't use metal ladders as they can conduct electricity, use wooden for fiberglass ladders.

6. Three is the magic number! (Only use three light strands per outlet).

  • Good rule of thumb: Three strands of lights or less per outlet. If you are worried about calculating the wattage and capacity, this simple rule of threes with make sure that you don’t overload the system.

7. Add additional safety measures.

  • For added safety, make sure you use power strips that have built-in circuit breakers (surge protectors). This means that your power strip is able to prevent the flow of an excessive amount of electricity and reducing your risk.

8. When in doubt, throw them out. (Throw away old or broken light strands.)

  • Before plugging in any lights, inspect your lights for damage or tears to avoid getting electrocuted.
  • If the lights are old, if you can replace the missing bulbs, you can use the small bag of extras that come with them or pick up some from your local home improvement store.
  • Additional Tips: How to Recycle Old Christmas Lights (Tips + Ideas) (

9. Plug in cords and use extensions safely.

  • Keep Extension cords dry and not too low where they could be surrounded by melting snow and use a surge protector to minimize damage.
  • Do not put cords through doors and windows as they could fray from being pinched, creating an electrical shock.

10. Don't let candles kill the mood.

  • As festive and romantic as your gingerbread scented candles are, they can be a risk to you, your family, and your home. If you have pets or kids who knock things over, it's essential to keep your candles far out of reach from wandering hands and paws.
  • Keep candles away from anything that could catch fire, like curtains or flammable decorations.
  • Just like your indoor holiday lights, never leave a lite candle unattended. Blow out the flame every time you leave the room, leave the house, or go to bed.

11. Metallic trees and electric lights don’t go together,

  • Metallic trees are beautiful as they bring a sparkle to your holiday, but when you wrap them with elected lights, they can become charged with electricity and shock anyone who touches them. Don’t use lights with metallic décor or metal.

12. Keep your Christmas tree well-hydrated.

  • Christmas trees are the leading cause of house fires during the holidays. Most artificial trees are made with fire-resistant materials, but for the real tree experience, you must keep your tree watered. Once your tree dries out, it is no longer safe in your home and should be removed.