We hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and took advantage of Small Business Saturday on November 30th, which is dedicated to supporting small businesses across the country.  We did, and patronized our local florist, gift shop, movie theatre, and bakery, although I tend to patronize the latter on a very, very regular basis.  Although the official day has passed, it’s never too late, and by doing so, you are also supporting your community, which is always a good thing.  Consider your local businesses this holiday season, and shop small!

As we enter December, our thoughts quickly turn to the holidays.  I mean, do we really have a choice?  We have been consistently bombarded with holiday commercials before our jack-o-lanterns had a chance to rot, and retailers have been covertly slipping in all things Christmas since October.  As soon as the Thanksgiving dishes were done, the race was on, and so we go…

With that being said, I’m sure many of you have begun the annual process of dragging out boxes, dusting off ornaments, and untangling strings of lights in the proverbial task of holiday decorating.  Before you deck your halls, it’s important to keep some very important safety tips in mind, so your home and loved ones stay out of harm’s way:

  Live Christmas Tree Care

  • Make sure the location you choose for your tree is far enough away from heat sources, like vents and fireplaces.
  • Choose a tree that is green with pliable needles.  Don’t panic if you see some brown needles fall.  All pines shed a portion of their oldest needles, so it’s only natural and should not sway your decision.  Excessive needle drop is truly a concern, so conduct a simple test.  Raise the tree a few inches off the ground and drop it on the trunk end.  Ideally, very few needles should drop.
  • When you get home, you’ll need to make a 1/2″ fresh-cut from the base of the trunk.  This is important as it allows the tree to absorb water.  Fill the stand with cold tap water.  The tree will require a gallon or more of water in the first few days, and two or more pints per day thereafter.  Remember to check the water level daily and replenish as needed.  Never let the water level drop below the fresh-cut as resin will form, impeding water absorption.  Proper water levels and absorption will help prevent needle loss and sagging boughs.

  Safe Indoor/Outdoor Lighting

  • Choose lights that are tested and certified.  Look for the “UL” or “ETL” label on the packaging.
  • Inspect all lights and cords.  Look for missing bulbs, cracks, frayed ends, loose connections or damaged sockets.  Lights can be fixed with bulb replacements only when unplugged, but cord issues cannot be repaired, and should not be used.
  • If using extension cords, never plug in more than three sets of lights per single extension cord.
  • Never tack or nail lights as they can puncture and electrify.
  • Secure ground level cords with tape, so they don’t present a tripping hazard.
  • When stringing lights outside, be aware of overhead power lines.
  • Always unplug lights when going to bed or leaving home.

“Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree.  In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall.”

-Larry Wilde

Best wishes,

Kim Sweeney

Like what you read?  Want to dig deeper and learn more?  Have you ever thought of forcing bulbs or even branches to brighten the winter home?  Click on the “Answer’s Expert” badge on the left side of the screen for more in-depth landscape and gardening articles from Answers.com, written by me!  Thank you for your support!