10 Christmas Safety Tips That Should Not Slip Your Mind ...

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The winter holidays are a time of joy and excitement, when the whole family reunites and the house is likely full of people - but this is also the time of the year when accidents can easily happen, so make sure that the most important Christmas safety tips don't slip your mind. The last thing you'd want is to have your festivities cut short due to an unfortunate incident. Here are 10 Christmas safety tips to make sure nothing ruins your holidays – except maybe for the usual family squabbles.

1. Buy Fresh

If you are not into artificial trees, one of the most important Christmas safety tips you should consider is to make sure that the one you purchase is freshly cut, as these are less prone to fire should your lights fail. Also, make sure to keep the Xmas tree watered and as far away from lit candles as possible.

2. Check for Certification

When buying spotlights, light strings, extension cords and any Christmas decorations that require electricity, check for the marks of accredited certification organizations such as ELT, UL or CSA, to make sure the items meet the applicable safety and performance standards.

3. Careful Inspections

Carefully check your holiday light strings for loose connections, frayed cords or cracked lamp holders. If you want to replace a bulb, make sure to unplug the light string first and match the wattage and voltage to the original bulb.

4. Remember You Don't Have Santa's Reindeer to save You

When putting up the Christmas decorations, remember you have to choose the right ladder for the job (no improvisations!). Again, look for a certification mark before stepping on the ladder, to ensure it meets applicable standards and won't give you any unpleasant surprises.

5. Lights out, Everybody!

This is one of the Christmas safety tips that many people tend to ignore – and some really, really regret it later. Always turn off your Xmas lights before you go to sleep or leave the house.

6. Timing is Key

If you don't trust your memory or have too many things to do to worry about the holiday lights, use a certified outdoor timer to automatically switch them on and off. And a quick tip: to avoid the electricity rush hour, best turn on the lights after 7 pm.

7. Extension Cords

Avoid connecting two or more extension cords together at all costs! Get a single longer cord instead. While you may love some stretching exercises after all the work you've done to prepare the house for the holidays, extension cords really don't need them – on the contrary. So ensure that the one you use is long enough to reach the outlet without stretching.

8. Outdoor Electrical Connectors

Sick of Christmas safety tips related to electricity? Tough luck! Here's one more. When putting up the outdoor lights, always keep the electrical connectors away from metal gutters and off the ground. Use plastic clips or insulated tape instead of metal tacks or nails to hold them in place.

9. How Much Time do You Have to Cook?

Start preparing the Christmas dinner as early as possible. When you're in a rush and all stressed out, you're much more prone to accidents (think boiling water, hot fat, and sharp knives, just to give a few examples). You might also want to wipe up any spills ASAP and keep everyone who's not helping you out of the kitchen.

10. Time for Presents!

Oh, how exciting it is to finally get to open your presents! Unfortunately, there can be hazards here too. Keep scissors at hand for tackling stubborn gift packaging, so that you won't be tempted to use a knife and accidentally cut yourself. Also, if you have young children over, be on the lookout for small items - like button batteries, parts that have fallen off the toys or burst balloons - to avoid choking hazards.

These are but a few Xmas safety tips that shouldn't slip your mind. There are many other things you have to keep track of to make sure nothing hinders the beauty of the holidays. Do you have any suggestions or reminders you'd like to share with us?