That cute inflatable snowman greeting neighbors from the front lawn can easily become a dangerous projectile if you don't follow the manufacturer's instructions for securing it, says Ken Katz, a property director for Travelers Insurance. It's best to shut off the fan blowers when it's windy, when you're not going to be home for long periods, or at bedtime, he says.
Don't use holiday lights unless they have cleared the strict safety tests conducted by Underwriters Lab or another established testing facility. Lights checked by this independent testing company are marked with a holographic UL label. A red label means lights can be used indoors and out, while green means indoor-use only.
To avoid holiday decorating mishaps, John Drengenberg, Consumer Safety Director at Underwriters Lab, strongly recommends reading labels for lights and other wired decorations to make sure you are conforming to acceptable wattage levels. If your decorations are connected by a tangled web of extension cords and power strips, you may be overloading the circuits, he warns.
For a quick, easy winter centerpiece use hot glue or super glue to attach evergreens to an assortment of glass canning jars. Fill the jars with candles, Christmas lights, or both and let the light twinkle through the greenery.
While it is typically frowned upon to have your Christmas lights up after the holidays, the strands of white bulbs can provide you with another amazing source of light for your outdoor room. This Bohemian-style patio incorporates the fun lights, giving the area a relaxed ambiance.
Consider adding two or three oversized ornaments or embellishments to your Christmas tree. This is the best way to pull together a color scheme and play with pattern mixing. Designer Britany Simon created these black, white and red poinsettias from solid-colored felt and patterned cottons. Once added to the tree, they become the first thing guests notice then help draw the eye around the room to other coordinating design elements.
Instead of the time-consuming chore of stringing endless Christmas lights, save yourself some time and just line your porch stairs (or the porch itself) with luminaries (battery-powered candles are safest) and pretty glass or plexi vessels filled with ornaments. When Christmas is over, remove the ornaments but keep the winter-themed deer luminaries.
To create a department store look, simply add a few large, unwrapped gifts around the Christmas tree. The juxtaposition of boxes with freestanding items, such as this tricycle, creates a nice mix. To bring holiday flair to your unwrapped items, stick with a simple bow tied around the top, or add a few strands of ribbon along the sides.
Since Christmas tree lights aren't illuminated all day and all night, consider a tree topper that will sparkle during the day. Pick up brass or metallic oversized stars and place them on top of the tree as a cluster. During the day, the sunlight will play up the metallic finish. At night, the metallic will appear warm when lit by twinkle lights.