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Some tips for a happy but safe holiday season

(Public Domain Photo)

By now, your holiday planning is well under way. Remember to keep safety in mind so that accidents don’t spoil the season.

Here is some basic advice on how to prevent little or big mishaps while celebrating:

Getting festive with lights

Planning to string Christmas tree lights together end-to-end or stacked? Be sure to check boxes of lights before you buy them to make sure everything is compatible.

Never plug more than two extension cords together. If you need extra length, buy longer cords. Be sure they can handle the wattages of your bulbs.

Plug in lights before you put them on the tree to be sure they work or you may have to return them to the store if you just purchased them. Inspect old strings of lights and discard them if the cords are frayed or if the plugs have been damaged.

Buy only weather-resistant lights to use outdoors. Don’t use indoor lights outside the house because they could be damaged by rain (or northern Arizona snow).

Don’t hang lights on the outside of the house by using nails or staples. Buy hangers specially made for the job.

Take those outdoor lights down within 90 days so they don’t suffer damage from bad weather.

Always use a sturdy, tall-enough ladder for hanging and removing those lights.

Cooking a delicious dinner

The best idea is to stay in the kitchen whenever you are cooking, but it’s especially important when you are frying, grilling or broiling.

Don’t bake a cake or roast a turkey unless you or someone who can help with the job is around to check on the food regularly. Setting a cooking timer can help remind you to check on the food now and then as well.

If a fire starts in an oven, turn it off and keep the door closed. Keep a fire extinguisher hand in the kitchen and if any fire gets out of hand, leave the house and call 911.

Follow directions carefully when you defrost your turkey. T

hink carefully about how to cook food properly and long enough to kill bacteria. Always use a cooking thermometer for turkeys, stuffing, side dishes and leftovers.

Put those leftovers back in the fridge within two hours of preparation. Reheat leftovers to 165 degrees.

And of course, always wash your hands thoroughly before handling food and afterwards as well.

Getting cozy around the fireplace

Before the holidays arrive, have your wood-burning fireplace or maybe even a gas-burning fireplace cleaned by a professional chimney sweep. Make sure all your smoke alarms are working properly and have a carbon monoxide detector installed as well if you don’t have one.

Don’t burn cardboard, waste paper or boxes in your fireplace.

Don’t try to burn your leftover Christmas tree in the fireplace either.

Lighting real candles

Many fires that are started by accidents with candles occur when someone falls asleep, so avoid using candles in the bedroom and blow out any candles when you leave a room or go to bed.

Keep candles at least a foot away from anything that can burn. Use sturdy holders that won’t tip over.

Don’t burn candles all the way to the end or you might start a container or piece of furniture on fire.

Don’t use candles if oxygen is being used anywhere in a home.

Don’t forget: Water the tree

The National Fire Prevention Association recommends that if, you’re buying a live tree, make sure it has fresh, green needles.

Before putting the tree in a stand, cut two inches from the bottom of the trunk.

Keep the tree well away from fireplaces, candles, lights or space heaters.

Add water to the tree stand daily. Explore other ways to keep your tree fresh here.

Use only lights designed for Christmas decorating and replace old strings with worn or broken cords.

For more homeowner advice, DIY tips and videos, and information about all the projects around your house, home, castle or cabin, visit Arizona’s largest collection of homeowner DIY advice and information at

And if you are in need of a quality contractor you know you can trust, visit our list of Arizona’s very best contractors or service providers for your home improvement projects at – Arizona’s most-trusted referral network.

Tune in to KTAR every Saturday morning from 7-11 a.m. for the Rosie on the House broadcast!

Rosie on the House

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