5 Tips to Prepare Your Home for the Holidays
The days are shorter, the weather is colder, and that means it’s time to start getting ready for the holidays. There are decorations to put up, gifts to buy, parties to get ready for, and meals to plan, but in the midst of all that fun preparation, it’s crucial that you don’t neglect to properly prepare your home for the holiday season. These five tips will ensure that you and your family can enjoy a safe, festive holiday season free from worry.
- Fireplace Maintenance
There is nothing better than curling up by a crackling fire with a good book or a loved one during the cold winter months. It’s vitally important that you properly maintain your fireplace so that it continues to operate safely and efficiently. Hire a professional maintenance service to clean and inspect your fireplace and chimney before the cold weather sets in. They’ll remove any buildup from your chimney walls and check that everything is in good working order. It’s well worth the money to be confident that your fireplace is safe and functional this winter. You should also consider installing a stainless-steel liner to keep the fire and embers completely contained within your fireplace, and make sure you have a good protective grate. It’s also recommended that you keep a fire extinguisher close to the fireplace in case of emergency.
- Pet and Baby-Proof Your Decorations
You might not realize that holiday decorations can be dangerous for small children and pets under the wrong circumstances. Animals and babies are attracted to anything shiny or sparkly, and they’re going to want to pull down any ornaments or decorations that are within their reach, which is a serious choking hazard. If you have pets or small children running around, avoid decorating with things that could be easily pulled off and ingested, like tinsel, and don’t hang any ornaments on the lower boughs of your tree. You should also consider choosing shatter-proof ornaments instead of delicate glass, crystal, or ceramic ones. That way, if one does fall, it won’t shatter into sharp pieces and pose an immediate threat to your pets’ or children’s safety. Also, remember that many traditional holiday plants are toxic to humans and animals. Keep things like holly and mistletoe out of reach or avoid using them altogether.
- Prevent Overloading Circuits
Twinkling lights and elaborate holiday-themed displays are a great way to get people into the holiday spirit but don’t forget that you could easily overload your electrical system by plugging in too many decorations and lights. If holiday decorations are your favorite thing, consider calling in an electrician or professionally handyman to install them for you or at least to inspect your electrical system to make sure it can handle the extra strain. To find a reputable company, you can simply search for “handyman services near me” and choose a company with excellent reviews and a wide array of services. You could even have the electrician install an extra circuit or a whole-home surge protector just to be safe.
- Put Your Decorations on Timers
No one wants to finish up the holiday season by getting an enormous electric bill in the mail. Having your holiday decoration and lights on all the time have a drastic effect on your home’s energy costs. Connecting your decorations to timers is a great way to keep your energy costs down while still enjoying the festive season. You can buy high-tech programmable timers that you can set to your specifications, or you can go with a standard mechanical outlet timer. Timers ensure that your decorations and lights won’t be on all day and night, and you won’t have to worry that you’ll forget to turn them on or off.
- Secure Your Home
The holiday season is one of the most popular times for travel, whether you’re going on a tropical vacation to escape the cold or traveling to another city to visit family. However, all that time away from your home leaves it vulnerable to break-ins and vandalism. If you’re planning to travel for multiple days, ask a friend or neighbor to take in your mail for you. If there’s a snowstorm while you’re away, try to coordinate with a service or a friend, so they can shovel your walk and driveway to make it look like someone is home. Consider installing motion sensor activated lights on the exterior of your home to discourage trespassing and set your interior lights on timers, so they turn on and off as if someone was home. Also, make sure to unplug all unnecessary decorations and appliances to decrease the risk of a house fire.