‘Twas the month before Christmas and all through the house,
Dad’s inspecting strings of lights, making sure they weren’t chewed by a mouse.
The children are excited for a tree and gifts galore;
While Mom and Dad are shopping, they’ll get new extension cords at the store.
Mom bought new candles to give home that warm, cheery glow;
She’ll use them with care because she’s in-the-know.
As you begin thinking of ways to deck your halls the best,
Brush up on your decorating safety smarts with this little test.
Do You Know the Safer Choice? Check your answers with the key following the quiz!
1. What should you look for when picking out a live Christmas tree?
a) Get the biggest tree on the lot to make all of the neighbors jealous.
b) Select a fresh green tree with needles that are hard to pull from the branches and branches that don’t break when you bend them, so you know it’s not drying out.
2. How often should you water your live Christmas tree?
a) Water your tree as soon as you notice the family pets have drunk all the water out of the tree stand.
b) Water your tree daily—maintaining a full tree stand at all times is best; trees know their water intake limit, so err on the side of too much rather than too little
3. What should you check for when buying an artificial tree?
a) Always look for a “fire resistant” label, and always read the manufacturer’s assembly instructions, including how to properly plug in a pre-lit tree.
b) Look for the best price to avoid suffering from buyer’s remorse once you get home.
4. When and where is it safe to use candles?
a) Burn candles all night and all over the house to try balancing out the extra cost on your electric bill from all the lights you’ve hung while decorating.
b) Only burn candles when you are home, on a heat resistant surface and always in sight; candles should also be kept where children and pets can’t reach or knock them over and away from trees, decorations, gifts, curtains, furniture and other flammable items.
5. When should I replace my strings of Christmas lights?
a) Replace lights with broken bulbs, cracked sockets, frayed or exposed wires and loose connections.
b) When more than half of the string won’t light up anymore or you feel a little tingle when you plug them in, it may be time to buy new lights.
6. Can I use any extension cord when decorating the outside of my home?
a) Use only cords that have been certified for outdoor use. Outdoor extension cords are designed to handle the elements such as moisture and temperature changes and have a third prong (grounding wire) to reduce the risk of electrical shock or fire.
b) Just doctor up an indoor cord with electrical tape before using it outside.
7. How many strings of lights can be strung and plugged in together?
a) This will depend on the type of lights you’re using and their wattage. Always check the manufacturer packaging for proper use and follow their guide.
b) Plug in as many as you can—lighting precautions are just a myth created to sell more extension cords.
Answer key: 1. b; 2. b; 3. a; 4. b; 5. a; 6. a; 7. a