Top 3 Holiday Decoration Safety Concerns

The holiday season is filled with celebrations, activities, and events. For many churches, this is one of the busiest times of the year. As you prepare for all the festivities, here are a few tips to make sure all your attendees and support staff enjoy the function:

1. Christmas Trees

Nothing can replace the natural smell of a fresh evergreen tree. But those smells also come with potential hazards like fires. Artificial trees are less risky but still present challenges.

If you display a live Christmas tree, make sure it’s fresh. Color may not be a good indicator of freshness because some trees are touched up with paint. The trunk should be recut two inches above the original cut just before it is placed in the stand with a large water reservoir. The water reservoir should be kept full and checked daily.

Christmas trees or other large displays should not be placed in doorways, walkways, or in congested areas. Also, decorations should not be placed near combustible or ignition materials.

2. Christmas Lights

Christmas lights bring holiday nights to life. As you purchase or dig through storage for your lights, make sure you are using Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) approved lights. Also, make sure the lights are being used in an appropriate manner. For example, outdoor lights should not be used to light a Christmas tree indoors.

Check all the wires and sockets on the string of lights to ensure none of the elements have been compromised. Also, check for bulbs that need to be replaced. Carefully unpacking, decorating, and repacking will reduce the chance of damage to lights or wires.

Be sure to follow all manufacturer’s instructions and suggestions. Connect your lights to timers or designate a volunteer or support staff person to turn the lights off. Also, secure all loose cords or cables to reduce tripping risks for participants. Finally, check-in with a licensed electrician to make sure all your sockets are in good working order and can handle the voltage required for your light display.

3. Other Decorations

Consider the following suggestions when decorating for events:

  • Keep hallways and exit areas free of combustible decorations

  • Select child-friendly decorations

  • Set candles firmly in sturdy holders

  • Use dripless candles

  • Place candles away from draperies and other combustible materials

  • Do not leave candles unattended

  • Extinguish them at the end of every function

You can ensure your community enjoys all the holiday season fun and experience the love of Christ through your events. Take these steps to provide the peace of mind you need to enjoy the season as well.

Also, if you haven’t checked out our fall church checklist click here to get more information about preparing your church for the winter months. Stay up to date with our latest support resources by subscribing to the Collaborator and joining our Facebook Group: UMC Support Group.