Decorating your home is such a fun way to spread Christmas cheer and help your visitors enjoy a magical experience. Here are some tips to help make sure you keep yourself and your visitors out of harm’s way.
1. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions
Only use outdoor lights outside – and always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Check for limits on how many hours the lights can be on safely and follow the safety precautions when you are installing and using your lights.
2. Use electricity safely
There’s a lot to think about with wires, surge protectors, extension cords, powerpoints and more. Some important things to do include:
• Always know the location of your main switchboard and how to turn off your mains power.
• Use surge protectors and cover unused powerpoints.
• Keep your decorations and cords far away from water or water sources such as taps and sprinklers.
• Never go near your overhead power lines at any time, and be especially careful if you’re installing decorations on your roof.
• Make sure all wires and extension cords are safe to use and out of the way.
Always check with a licensed electrician if you have any questions or concerns about the safety or installation of your decorations.
3. Secure everything
Make sure your lights are safely and firmly attached to your house so a gust of wind won’t upset your display. Your local hardware store could have specific advice on the types of hooks and fasteners that will be safe to use on your home. If you have any large or moveable elements such as sleighs, snowmen or an inflatable Santa as part of your decoration scheme, make sure they are safely and firmly anchored to where you want them to stay.
4. Take care – and take your time
DIY projects – and any projects that involve electricity, roof climbing and ladders – need careful planning and careful work. Always use appropriate equipment and personal protective equipment when you’re installing or checking your display. Plan your decorating with plenty of time to spare so you have time to do final checks, testing and make sure all of your equipment is safely stored away.
5. Create a safe space for visitors
If you’re happy with people to get close to your lights and walk around your front yard, make sure there’s a safe and clear path for them to walk around. If you’d rather people enjoy your lights from further back, make sure there’s a safe space for people to stand that’s off the road. You might want to use temporary fencing and friendly signs to keep people off the areas you don’t want them to go (e.g. Reindeer landing zone – please keep off this grass!).
6. Remember traffic and parking
Many people walk to see Christmas lights in their local area but even more will drive past on their tour of the Xmas Lights Trail. You might want to get advice from your local council on how they can help with traffic management, especially if your house is on a main road. Wherever you live, speak with your neighbours beforehand to let them know there might be more traffic than usual in the lead-up to Christmas. You could invite them to a “Lights Trail launch party” to share in the magic.
7. Be prepared
Each night before your lights get switched on and visitors arrive, make sure your mobile phone has plenty of battery and keep a list of emergency numbers handy. Keep a basic first aid kit and decoration repair kit handy, just in case.