Here we go with Christmas, Hanukkah, and the now-included Kwanzaa, a time of joy and celebration – as long as you don’t fall prey to a number of holiday hazards.

Deco-RAT-e/Illustration from Ryn's book RATS INCREDIBLE

Deco-RAT-e/Illustration from Ryn's book RATS INCREDIBLE

Some folks around town have already begun to deck their homes with lights and fake reindeer. More holiday décor and cheer will surely be on the way. Keep it cheery by keeping these five random holiday hazards in mind.

Flying turkey – While this hazard is more common on Thanksgiving, and an incident of it was even reported one year by Tucson police, do beware of other large, flying foodstuff in the midst of holiday fights.

Packing lots of family and friends together with drinks and old resentments can turn a festive feast into a food fight. Beware the Christmas ham or those wayward Hanukkah latkes that could hit you in the face.

Christmas tree terror – Pick a tree that is fresh, green and doesn’t lose all its needles when you bounce it on the ground, advises a news release from the Northwest Fire District.

“Make a new diagonal cut of about two inches on the trunk to open up pores clogged by sap, and put the tree into a sturdy stand with at least a gallon of water,” the release adds. Cut trees can suck up between a quart and a gallon of water per day, so keep the reservoir filled. For extra protection, you can even spray the tree with a fire retardant. Place trees away from heat sources, like that sparking fireplace or hot-air-blasting wall unit.

While fire is the most common hazard with Christmas trees, they are also in danger of getting peed on by the dog or cat or falling atop a drunken uncle when he careens backwards into it. Trees, too, can go flying during domestic disputes.

Lethal lighting – Use indoor lights for indoor use and outdoor lights for outdoor use. Seems simple, but some folks like to skimp. Don’t skimp, either, by using old lights with frayed cords or chewed up bulbs. Overload sockets and you risk turning your home into tinder.

Candles have long been the number one cause of fires, especially during the holidays. Keep them away from curtains, flammable couches, children and pets. We don’t care how old fashioned you want your décor to be, never use candles on a Christmas tree.

Shut off lights and extinguish candles before leaving the house or retiring for the night.

Broken necks – These can easily come about if you try to hang lights outside your home while dangling from the roof or stand atop the roof peak during heavy winds. They may also be a result of the aforementioned flying turkey or ham.

Mistletoe – Be very careful where you stand during this festive season. One wrong step could place you under the mistletoe with someone you’d rather not kiss. Also be aware that mistletoe is poisonous if eaten, especially its berries.

“Eating the berries will cause acute stomach and intestinal pains, diarrhea, weak pulse, mental disturbances, and the collapse of blood vessels,” says the MountLehmanLlamas website. “Death has occurred within ten hours after ingestion.”

Don’t eat it.


wb-logolilWhat do you think?

Has a hazard ever ruined your holiday? Do tell.

What other holiday hazards should people try to avoid?