TOP 5 CHRISTMAS CATASTROPHES AND HOW TO AVOID THEM December 14, 2020 | Holiday , Safety | winter , organization , entertaining Christmas Day is fast approaching, which means now’s the time to get those last few decorations in place. It’s easy to get into a frenzy and rush around, but don’t disregard your own safety to put on a Yuletide spectacle. Here’s how you can avoid injuring yourself and still put together the perfect setup for Saint Nicholas. Don’t string yourself out with the lights. If you’ve ever seen National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation , then you’ve witnessed exactly what NOT to do when hanging your lights. Clark Griswold finds himself in a comedy of errors by stapling his shirt to the siding, not securing his ladder properly and of course trying to accomplish his master design by himself. Nearly 6,000 people are injured during the holiday season each year due to falling off of a ladder. To keep you and your home protected, remember to: Enlist the help of at least one other person Choose a ladder of the appropriate height Secure and stabilize your ladder Work during the day and in calm weather Check your light strands for faulty bulbs and exposed wires Utilize a timing system for your displays NPI’s Decorating Tip: You don’t have to knock out your town’s power like Clark for an eye-catching presentation. Sometimes a simple, thoughtful layout is all you need. Make sure your tree won’t come crashing down. Whether you have an artificial tree or one straight from the forest, it’s important to keep it from tipping over onto someone. Find a tree that will fit your home and won’t need many alterations. Trimming branches and cutting down the trunk can make a tree less stable and more likely to fall. When you purchase your tree, also buy a stand suited for it and follow the stand’s directions during assembly. NPI’s Decorating Tip: Put any fragile ornaments on higher branches to keep pets and children from knocking them off. Remember to always watch your back. As you move around bulky boxes and heavy furniture during your decorating, don’t overexert yourself. Move larger items with one or two other people so that the load is evenly distributed. When lifting, remember to bend at the knees and keep your back straight to prevent pulling a muscle. NPI’s Decorating Tip: Take your time rearranging. Sudden jerks or twists can put your shoulders and back at risk of injury. Open the presents, not your hand. Wrapping that pile of gifts is a hassle, and you can end up snipping a finger if you’re not careful. Always cut away from your body and make sure that no one else has their hands in the way. The same rules also apply when you’re trying to open your presents or helping smaller children open theirs. For kids, don’t let them use scissors or knives without adult supervision. NPI’s Decorating Tip: If your wrapping skills are less than Instagram-worthy, check out these tips to get the perfect present ! Keep on top of fire safety practices. Before you start roasting chestnuts over a fire or accenting your dinner with candles, brush up on your fire safety. Clean out your fireplace and check that its components are working prior to striking a match. With candles, place them where children and pets can’t reach and topple them over. Keep the flames clear of any low-hanging decorations and especially watch your sleeves as you reach for another serving of Christmas pie. The best thing you can do is to have a fire extinguisher close by or stored in an easily accessible spot. NPI’s Decorating Tip: Candles are great for a traditional Christmas feel, but they can quickly send things up in smoke. Opt for battery-operated versions that’ll still complete the look. Christmas is a wonderful time of year, but it’s also one that needs an extra amount of caution. From slipping on ice and snow to making sure that air-filled Santa doesn’t burst , it can be a stressful season. Take a moment for yourself to decompress and avoid a Noel-induced migraine. Have a safe and happy holiday! For all your home inspection needs, contact your local NPI inspector and schedule an appointment today.