Four Steps for a Merry and Safe Holiday Decorating

Sarah Gunn décore pour les fêtes.

What the holidays mean to me

For as long as I can remember, decorating is one of my favourite things to do during the holiday season! With winter arriving, there is something special about adding festive touches throughout our home. I love pressing play on my favourite holiday music playlist, bringing out boxes of décor and getting the house ready for the season.

Since my kids were little, we have created wonderful memories together decorating the house. We especially love reminiscing about old ornaments and the sentimental value they have for each of us. Decorating for the holidays is more than just spreading joy, it can be a way to create new family traditions.

Below are four easy holiday decorating tips to help your family create some new holiday traditions this season, and do so safely

Mantel Magic

Family room fireplace with Christmas decorations

The first thing my family decorates for the holidays is our mantel. I want to sit and enjoy it all season long, especially this year when we will be spending so much time at home.

The key to a perfectly styled holiday mantel? Start with an oversized mirror, and layer a piece of art. Then, place greenery along the mantel, draping it over the front edge to add dimension. Layer more than one garland for a full designer look. I also like to introduce elements that I can swap throughout the season to keep it feeling fresh: pinecones, berries, faux flowers, colourful ornaments and candles.

Safety tip: I like to secure things in place, like the greenery, with removable adhesive hooks to avoid the risk of it falling. I also always make sure candles are placed in a proper holder and never left unattended.

The Great Outdoors

Above view of craftswoman standing at wooden table full of decorations and creating Christmas wreath in workshop

Normally each season, I hang a pretty wreath on the front door that is fastened with an oversized bow. It’s a nice way to welcome guests. This year, I also opted to hang wreaths on the closet doors in the entryway to bring more of the festive spirit indoors.

I plan on creating DIY arrangements in our planters with branches, full of fresh seasonal greenery, berries and lights. If you do the same, make sure to water them until the first frost.

Safety tip: When cutting greenery for your DIY projects make sure your clippers are in good working order. Dull blades require more force, increasing the chance of injury; therefore always make sure to cut away from your body and at a 45-degree angle.

Light it Up

Portrait of a happy woman decorating her Christmas tree with lights and looking at the camera smiling - lifestyle concepts

We love lights. Lots and lots of lights. I do my best to store them carefully each year, but, without fail, when I take lights out and test them, some don’t work. And, until this Christmas, I just put them back in the bin thinking they will somehow magically light up when I plug them in next year. But! If you love a well lit tree like I do, use between 150 and 200 lights for every foot of the tree’s height. When lighting your tree, start at the base, wrapping branches from the trunk to tip so it looks illuminated from within. Last year, we set up a timer to turn the lights on and off from the comfort of our sofa. I highly recommend!

Did you know that your local municipality may recycle old Christmas lights? Check and see how to safely dispose of them where you live and free up that storage space for new holiday décor.

Safety tip: Use lights that have the mark of an accredited certification agency such as CSA, cUL or cETL to ensure the products conform to the Canadian national safety standard and limit fire risks .

Trim the Tree

A family with two children wearing warm clothing shopping for a Christmas tree at a Christmas market in Northeastern England. The young boy is putting the Christmas tree in the trunk of the car and struggling to the amusement of his family.

Although it’s one of the last things we do each year, decorating the tree is the holiday tradition I love sharing most with my family. The first step? Picking out the tree. We all pile in the car, grab some hot chocolate and then my family very patiently takes turns holding up many trees until we (and by we, I mean me) find just the right one. I make sure we choose one that is about one foot shorter than the height of our ceilings to leave room for the Santa tree-topper.

A young red head boy and his sister are decorating the Christmas tree in their home. He is reaching up and putting a bauble onto the tree while his sister tries to help.

Next, it’s time to add ornaments, starting with oversized colourful balls. Now that the kids are all almost teenagers, they know to only place one ornament per branch to prevent them from falling and shattering- broken glass can easily become a safety hazard. They even know to take a step back and look at the tree (while lit) as we decorate to see where to place ornaments.

Each year when I was a child, Santa would add a special ornament to my gift, and he continues to do that for my sons each year. We love unwrapping each one, remembering the stories behind them and hanging them on the tree.

Safety tip: Place the tree away from heat sources, including radiators and fireplaces. For ornaments, if you have a young child or pet, be sure to use plastic ornaments for your trees. If they were to fall from the tree, there will not be any broken glass to hurt anyone.

Wishing you and your family a happy holiday

Whether you are decorating the tree and mantel, or sitting near them enjoying the glow and beauty, making merry memories with your family truly is the best part of the holiday season. Wishing you and yours a holiday that is merry, sweet and safe.

Additional Allstate Safety Tips:

Allstate Canada's 12 Days of Safety in the Home


Disclaimer: *This information and the opinions expressed in this blog are written by Sarah Gunn, conducted on behalf of Allstate Canada. They have been provided for your convenience only and should not be construed as providing legal or insurance advice.