Whether you’re planning a quaint indoor tree setup or an outdoor light show to dazzle your entire neighborhood, here are the top safety tips to keep in mind as you decorate your home with lights for the holidays.

Holiday lights preparation

When it’s time to switch your holiday lights on, you’ll want to make sure that they’ve been assembled properly. A little preparation now will save you the potential hassle of restringing your lights later on – or more seriously, the potential hazard of a preventable winter fire. Here are the best ways to prepare your home and decor before the holidays.

  • If you’re purchasing a fresh tree, keep it well-watered.
  • Ensure your smoke detectors are in working order before you set up interior lighting or flammable decorations.
  • Check last year’s light strings to make sure they aren’t frayed.
  • When replacing any bulbs, ensure the wattage and voltage match the original strand.
  • Buy new lights from reputable retailers with nationally recognized seals of approval. Look for a stamp from Underwriters Laboratory (UL) or Intertek (ETL).
  • Confirm your exterior lights are certified for outdoor use before hanging them across your roofline and windows.

White Christmas lights. The ultimate holiday light safety checklist  - Lights

Safely string your lights

Indoor holiday light tips

  • Use power strips if needed. Overloaded outlets and cords may be at increased risk for overheating.
  • Avoid running extension cords through heavily trafficked areas.
  • Keep lights and decorations away from heat sources like fireplaces and candles.
  • If you have young kids or pets in the house, block off your tree area when the room isn’t in use.

Outdoor holiday light tips

  • Hang lights before the first snowfall to avoid extra weather-related hazards.
  • If you’re using a ladder to put up your lights, make sure someone is standing at the base to secure it.
  • When mounting lights to a doorway or home exterior, use hooks or heavy-duty tape instead of nails or tacks.
  • Keep electrical connectors off the ground and away from metal gutters.
  • Opt for a longer extension cord rather than connecting multiple shorter cords.
  • Plug all outdoor lights into GFCI outlets.

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Holiday lights maintenance

Once your lights are up and ready, do what you can to protect your display and those who view it. Here are some easy but effective ways to maintain your holiday lights.

  • Turn off your exterior holiday lights when you go to bed or leave the house.
  • Set an automatic timer that turns off lights even if you forget.
  • Swap broken or burnt-out bulbs for new ones, and ensure all bulbs are screwed on tight.
  • Take down holiday lights when the season is over.

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Would you rather be a spectator?

You don’t have to spend hours stringing up holiday lights to enjoy them! Consider going on a winter lights tour instead. Plenty of public destinations in Minnesota and western Wisconsin offer spectacular holiday light displays, including:

Bentleyville in Duluth, MN. This tour of lights features over five million lights! It’s a must-see event for any light-lover this holiday season. Plus, Santa and Mrs. Claus are present every night of the event.

Wintertime in the City of Eau Claire, WI. Warm up with a cup of cocoa or cider while strolling the 1-mile Winter Route, featuring views of the Chippewa River, holiday lights, and festive activities.

Glow Holiday Festival in St. Paul, MN. Experience the glow of this unique holiday light installation at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. Purchase tickets online to reserve your spot in advance.

Rotary Lights in La Crosse, WI. Nearly 160,000 people come to visit the lights in Riverside Park each year. Join them for a light and hologram display, carriage rides, and more.

Holiday Market and Cookie Exchange in Winona, MN. Skate around the Levee Park Ice Rink while enjoying various holiday drinks and treats from artisan vendors.

‘Tis the season for house hunting

All in all, the holidays are a wonderful time to celebrate and unwind. By taking a few precautions when decorating your home for the holidays, you can make sure you and your loved ones can enjoy the season safely.

A home is truly a gift that keeps giving. If you’re ready to shop for a new house this holiday season, reach out to Betty Most Agency.  We can help you find a home at the top of your wish list.