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Preparing your home for the holidays

Holiday decorations sitting on a wooden shelf

Garland, ribbons and candles come to mind when thinking about prepping your home for the holidays. While I would love to talk about how I attempt to decorate my home like a magazine, this article is not about what will look best on your front door or how to set your table perfectly for the holidays. That's what Pinterest is for! Working for an insurance company has made me aware of the importance of prevention. Unfortunately, in our line of business we see and hear about disasters and mishaps over the holidays that cost policyholders damage, money and stress.

So as an ode to the season of giving, I'm going to give you 5 tips of what NOT to do when prepping your home for the holidays.

In preparing your home for the holidays DO NOT:

  • Combine dry garland and candles. This is a cry for disaster. I've actually witnessed a mantle go up in flames at a holiday party because of this combination. The beautiful candles gave off a crackling glow of light all evening and the garland surrounding it was a lovely sight, until all the party guests were throwing their drinks toward the fire that was slowly rising up the tall wall. Trust me. It's a good idea to stick with the new flameless candles.
  • Overload electrical outlets. Stick with no more than three strands of lights and be sure to use approved and lab-tested. And although it can be hard to get rid of those "vintage" bulbs you've cherished since you were a child, don't use any wiring that's cracked, bare, rusted or is worn and torn. Splurge for some new bulbs.
  • Leave your driveway slippery for guests. If you're having company over, be sure to clear any snow and salt the walkways that will welcome them. You don't want to take Aunt Betty to the emergency room when you should be making memories.
  • Leave your cooking unattended. Chances are if you're having people over, you might be using your kitchen more than normal. Don't forget to keep towels, papers, pot holders and other items that could catch fire, away from the stove. Be sure to keep an eye on what you're cooking, and if you have little ones in your house, make sure you supervise them as well.
  • Ignore your smoke alarms. Check the batteries and test each smoke alarm to make sure they're working. Smoke alarms save lives and can provide for an excellent turkey timer, as they have in my household.

Enjoy making your house beautiful for the holidays and don't ignore the importance of prevention and awareness. Happy holidays!

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