Image at night of a house decorated with holiday lights
Check holiday lights for safety issues and keep the season bright.

By Shannon Kennedy, ANR Educator, UGA Extension Forsyth County

By now, holiday decorating is well underway in many homes. While all this hustle and bustle can be fun and exciting, it can also make us more prone to accidents. Holiday safety can be difficult to navigate, so here are a few tips to keep in mind as you deck the halls.

Mandy Love is the Director of Marketing at Sawnee EMC, and she has a lot of valuable information on the matter of holiday safety. When asked about the most common safety issue during the holidays, Love replied, “Lights that are left plugged in.”

She goes on to say, “Turn off all electrical decorations before leaving home or going to bed – a timer works great for this and can help save on your energy costs!”

In addition to this, Love has a quick list of precautions everyone should take as they prepare for decorating. Look for products that carry a certified label (such as “UL approved”), follow installation and maintenance instructions for all decorative electrical products, and never nail or staple extension cords or lights to exterior surfaces.  Love adds this reminder about setting up holiday displays: “Do not overload extension cords – they can overheat.”

Most of us have old decorations that we reuse year to year, but these items can pose hazards. Love cautions, “With old cords and lights, we recommend inspecting them before plugging them in, as frayed, cracked wires, or loose connections may cause personal injury or a fire.”

You should also make sure the cord does not heat up during use. Inevitably there will be decorations that you have to retire, but this is not necessarily bad. 

“If you are thinking about replacing old lights and decorations, consider LED replacements,” Love said. “They create much less heat and use far less energy.” If you have any questions or concerns about electrical precautions during the holiday season, you can reach out to The Energy Services Team at Sawnee EMC at 770-887-2363 or via email at