Igniting the Christmas Tree and 8 Other Common Holiday Hazards to Avoid

This season is a time for celebration — but it's also fraught with peril
Decorating Disasters


Attempting to hang lights, wreaths, and garlands can be dangerous

The holidays are finally here, and with these festive days comes friends, family, food, and the inevitable holiday disaster.

Holiday hazards start with decorations. Hanging lights on the outside of the house from a ladder or rooftop is an easy way to end up in the emergency room, and even placing garlands and wreaths in hard-to-reach corners of the living room may lead to a fall. Winter weather also brings its own perils. Unsafe driving conditions make Christmas one of the most dangerous days to travel, and shoveling snow off the front porch too strenuously has sent more than one person to the orthopedic ward.

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Then there's the holiday party. Children are at risk of choking on small toys or ginger bread house decorations, and pets are determined to nibble that toxic decorative pinecone or poisonous poinsettia plant.

All that rich food and endless flow of alcohol doesn’t make things any safer. Mixing glasses of spiked eggnog with platters of indulgent appetizers can result in the phenomenon known as the “holiday heart attack" — which might be anything from atrial fibrillation to a full-scale cardiac event. 

Fortunately, identifying potential pitfalls ahead of time makes them easier to avoid and enables you to sidestep that medical emergency or Hanukkah house fire.   


Here are nine common holiday hazards to avoid.