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Top 3 Holiday Decoration Safety Concerns

Updated: Jul 20, 2022

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.


This content has been prepared by United Methodist Insurance Company (UMI) for informational purposes only. No article or document may accurately contemplate all possible scenarios or church resources. As such, this information is meant to foster discussion by the individual church and its members to develop a plan tailored to its own circumstances. UMI is providing this information with no warranties or guarantees of any kind and it should not be viewed as legal, financial, or other professional advice. All liability is expressly disclaimed. Any claim examples described herein are general in nature, may or may not be based on actual claims, and are for informational purposes only. Any coverage available for a claim is determined from the facts and circumstances of the claim as well as the terms and conditions of any applicable policy, including any exclusions or deductibles. In the event of a conflict with the content herein, the terms and conditions of any issued policy will control. Individual coverage may vary and may not be available in all states.

The commercial insurance coverages for United Methodist Insurance are sold and serviced directly or indirectly by Sovereign Insurance Agency (CA Lic. No. 0B01380) ("Sovereign") and underwritten by various available insurance markets. Sovereign pays United Methodist Insurance a royalty for the use of its intellectual property.


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