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As you ready your home for the holidays this season, keep these tips in mind. They’ll help you keep your holidays happy, healthy and safe.

Never use lighted candles near trees, boughs, curtains/drapes, or with any potentially flammable item. There are many battery-operated candles available now that give the appearance of real flame-burning candles. Consider using these instead. Many are remote-controlled for even easier use.

Small children and pets may think that holiday plants look good enough to eat, but many plants may be poisonous or can cause severe stomach problems. Plants to watch out for include: mistletoe, holly berries, Jerusalem cherry and amaryllis. Keep all of these plants out of reach.

If using a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, and the needles are hard to pull from the branches. When you bend the needles, they shouldn’t break. Water your fresh tree daily. Keep it away from fireplaces, radiators, or other heat sources. And, don’t block doorways or traffic areas.

If you use an artificial tree, make sure it is labeled as fire resistant. Artificial trees with built-in electrical systems should have the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) label.

December is the deadliest month for electrical fires. Be careful!

Only use indoor lights indoors (and outdoor lights only outdoors). Look for the UL label. Check lights for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, and loose connections. Replace or repair any damaged light sets.

Fasten your outdoor lights them firmly to a secure support with insulated staples or hooks to avoid wind damage. Never nail or tape wiring when hanging lights and keep plugs off the ground away from puddles and snow.

Indoors, never use more than three light sets on any one extension cord. Extension cords should be placed against the wall to avoid tripping hazards, but do not run cords under rugs, around furniture legs or across doorways.

Turn off all lights on trees and decorations when you go to bed or leave the house. Unplug extension cords when not in use.

Don’t hang stockings or other decorations. Do not use your gas fireplace if the glass panel is removed, cracked, or broken, and only allow a qualified service person to replace fireplace parts. Never burn wrapping paper in your fireplace.

To help prevent CO hazards in your home, have a qualified heating contractor perform a yearly maintenance check of your furnace and venting system, and clean or replace your furnace filter frequently during the heating seasons.

With all that’s going on during the holidays, cooks tend to get distracted. Be sure to have pot holders and lids nearby in case you need them. Don’t use water to extinguish a grease fire. If you can grab a pot lid, you may be able to slide it on to smother the flames. Otherwise, try using baking soda, or a fire extinguisher, if you have one handy.

Take extra precautions with turkey fryers. Only use them outdoors in a well-ventilated area. Check that the oil you use for frying is at the correct temperature.

You should really be checking your alarms monthly. There should be fire and CO alarms on each level of your home.

If you are travelling during the holidays, don’t post your plans on any social media site. Burglars read your posts, too. Don’t post where you are going, when you’re leaving or when you’ll return. Ask a trustworthy friend or neighbor to keep an eye on your house while you’re gone. Have them take in any mail or newspapers. And don’t hide a key outside.

How To Make Your Holidays Even Happier

Looking for decorating ideas you can use year round? Stop by any of our communities to tour our beautifully detailed model homes. Visit our website for more information.

And from our DeLuca Homes family to yours… we wish you a joyous holiday season!