Christmas lights make the holiday season bright. We decorate our trees, homes and even cars with them.
These pretty decorations don't come without risk though. Falls, electrocution and shorting are real possibilities. With proper preparation and safe practices, you can avoid those dangerous situations while decorating.
Keep your light strands off the ground, too. If you want to make a cool runway effect down your walkway, use light stakes like these by Minetom or these by HomeAccents. You just stick them in the ground and the lights clip to the top of the stake.
Simply thread the cord through the middle and push the ends of the pin or staple into the dirt. If you have some wire hangers, a pair of pliers and wire cutters lying around, you can make your own staples in a pinch. Just cut 8 inches (20 centimeters) of wire and bend it into a U-shape.
Sure, they're pretty, but don't leave your lights up for too long. Many lights, including smart lights, aren't meant for long-term use. Be sure to check the light's box for information on just how long you can safely leave your lights up.
The Electrical Safety Foundation International recommends connecting no more than three strings of incandescent lights together. If you're using LEDs, most UL-labeled lights will tell you on the package how many strings of lights you can safely string together.
If your outlet is a GFCI, it will have a reset and test button in the center. If you don't have one, you can purchase a portable GFCI outlet from your home-improvement store. You could try this waterproof in-line GFCI or this portable GFCI.
Never string up a human or animal with the lights that you plug in, even if it's just for a photo -- they could get an electric shock or burns if the lights are too hot.
Most places that sell Christmas lights also sell strands of battery-powered lights. These don't get hot and won't potentially electrocute the wearer. Plus, they come in fun shapes. We've seen strands shaped like snowflakes, candy canes and gumdrops.