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Holiday Safety for Your Home

by Mary Jane Frogge, Extension Associate

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The holiday season is here! If you are like me, you are excited about the holidays and have already started or maybe even finished decorating the house and yard.

Many of you put your Christmas tree up right after Thanksgiving. This year you may have decided to have a real tree. Be sure to select a fresh tree. If you cut the tree yourself you know the tree is fresh. But if you do not cut your own tree, be sure to ask when the tree was cut and check it closely for drying needles. Dry greenery and Christmas trees can be a fire hazard this time of year in your home.

The stump of your Christmas tree should be cut fresh before placing the tree in the tree stand. Keep an adequate supply of fresh water covering this fresh cut at all times. Check the water level daily, and refill when needed. The cooler you can keep the room where you have the Christmas tree, the longer it will stay fresh and green. Do not place the tree near a heat vent, wood stove or fireplace.

At the first sign of needle drop and drying you should dispose of the Christmas tree. A single spark can ignite a dry tree. Use some of the discarded tree material as a mulch over dormant perennials or as a haven for wildlife in a nature area.

Holiday greenery used for decoration should be watched very carefully for signs of drying. Evergreen boughs and wreaths can dry in just a few days. A cigarette ash or match could easily start a fire in one of these center pieces. Never leave an unattended candle burning. Blow out candles in these center pieces after the meal is over.

When decorating landscape trees and the exterior of the house, be careful. Make sure you have a sturdy ladder and someone to help hold the ladder when you are stringing lights in high places. When you are on a ladder, do not lean out or reach. Climb down and move the ladder to a better location.

Please have a safe holiday season.

(This resource was appeared in the Nov/December 2004 NEBLINE Newsletter. For information on reproducing this article or using any photographs or graphics, read the Terms of Use statement)

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University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in Lancaster County is your on-line yard and garden educational resource. The information on this Web site is valid for residents of southeastern Nebraska. It may or may not apply in your area. If you live outside southeastern Nebraska, visit your local Extension office