The holiday season is upon us so it’s time to start preparing for the festivities, but with all the hustle and bustle of the season, where and how do you begin? Don’t worry, we have some tips to help you start and stay on track as you cross the important things off your holiday prep checklist. 

Create a Holiday Checklist  

Your first order of business is to create a holiday checklist. Lists are a great way to make sure you don’t forget any important tasks as the season gets busier and busier. Once you’ve written out every task, you’ll have a better idea of how to budget and allocate your time. You might even be surprised by how quickly you can check off some of the simpler items to complete. If a handwritten list seems too tedious and old school, there are plenty of apps you can download on your phone that will make compiling a holiday checklist even easier. Once you have the list on your phone, checking off items you’ve completed requires just a tap of your finger. Whichever way you choose, it’s satisfying to see those completed items come off your holiday prep checklist—as you prep and organize your home for the season. 

Time Management Is Your Friend 

A great way to cut down on the inevitable holiday prep stress is to create a timeline that coordinates with your holiday checklist. Timelines are a great way to manage the time you have available to prepare your home for dinners, parties, shopping, wrapping or whatever else the holidays have in store. Create a calendar, along with individual tasks you’ll need to complete to meet your goals. Figure out the number of days and the amount of time you think you’ll need for cleaning, shopping, decorating, and so on. Then allocate the necessary days and time in your schedule to get each task completed. This is where managing your time effectively comes into play. In order to stay on track and focused on the tasks at hand, it’s important to minimize distractions (don’t spend an hour on your phone when you should be cleaning) and block out your schedule so family and friends know you’re busy. Once you see your checklist laid out and organized in calendar form, it can seem less intimidating and overwhelming. And remember, there’s no shame in asking for professional help. There are plenty of resources available to get those items on your list completed. For example, why not hire someone to help clean the interior and exterior of your windows (one of the most overlooked areas of holiday prep). Once you have your windows sparkling clean, you can focus on the rest of the house. The pros at Molly Maid can help you prepare the inside of your home for holiday guest, and if you need help getting the outside looking just right for that holiday party, Window Genie is ready to help you get it all done. 

Start at the Top of Your Checklist for Every Holiday Party 

One of the most daunting tasks is hanging holiday lights. This task will go a lot smoother if you have a clean, blank canvas to work with. A clean, dry roof makes the best surface for holiday light hanging. Roof cleaning can be quite a time-consuming and dangerous job, which can be even more dangerous when the weather turns cold. This is one job where hiring a professional is well worth the cost. However, if you do decide to tackle cleaning your roof, be sure to put safety first. Use a sturdy ladder, durable work gloves, and have someone outside spotting you while you’re on the roof. Never work on the roof while home alone. If you plan on hanging lights on your gutters, be sure they’re clean as well. Clogged gutters mixed with electricity can cause damage or even a fire. 

Clean Windows  

If you want to dazzle your guests with your holiday lights display, be sure your windows are clean and your home’s exterior is in great shape. Nothing puts a damper on pretty twinkle lights like dirty, grimy front windows. Clean, streak-free windows give your festive lights that extra ‘wow factor.’ In fact, clean glass helps reflect the sparkle of those twinkling light! 

Prepping Decorations for Display 

Do you know where your holiday decorations are stored? Are they in good condition? Do any of them need to be repaired? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, be sure to put ‘inventory and check decorations’ near the top of your holiday checklist. This goes for holiday lights as well. There’s nothing as frustrating as spending hours hanging holiday lights only to find out half of them don’t light up when you plug them in (Ughhhhh!). The easiest way to ensure every set of lights you hang is working properly is to untangle and plug them in before they go on your house. This makes replacing any damaged or broken bulbs or strands of light a lot easier. 

Get Help Checking Things Off Your List 

The holidays should be a time of fun, festivities and celebration, but they can also be stressful and overwhelming when you’re struggling to get everything on your holiday list done on time. You can take a lot of the stress and worry out of this holiday season by hiring some pros to help you get your holiday checklist completed. The pros at Window Genie can help prep your home exterior for the holidays. And when you’re ready to dazzle your family, friends and neighbors with an amazing holiday light display, the lighting pros at Your Holiday Lights are ready to make it happen. They can help create a custom holiday display that reflects your holiday spirit, then take it all down and pack it away until next year. Now that sounds like the recipe for a happy holiday! 

One of my favorite holiday pastimes is going to see Christmas light displays; I can remember piling in the car with my family and fighting my cousins for a window seat. Christmas light displays are as essential to Christmastime as fireworks are on the Fourth of July… But which ones are the best and how do you find them? Well, we did the work for you! Here is our list of the top 10 Christmas light displays from all over the country and a few websites to help locate great Christmas light displays near you. Continue reading “Top 10 Christmas Light Displays in America”

Hanging Christmas lights seems like your run of the mill holiday tradition… but schlepping all those lights and decor up a ladder is actually as dangerous as it is tedious.

Each holiday season we see almost 15,000 holiday decor related injuries across America. Most homeowners aren’t taking the proper safety precautions while working with or near electrical equipment, and don’t even get me started on ladder safety!

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Learn from Shawn Miller who shared his story on SafeElectricity.org about how he lost his hand and suffered 27 exit wounds after being electrocuted while hanging his mother’s Christmas lights:

“I was just hanging Christmas lights at my mom’s house like I do every year,” Miller said. “Only this time, I was decorating a new area—the trees that lined the front of the yard.” As he tossed lights up into the trees, 7200 volts of electricity entered his body, traveling from the overhead power lines through his strand of lights. He suffered 27 exit wounds and the loss of his left hand, among other injuries.

“Please take note of your surroundings before decorating outside,” Miller urges, “especially power lines and the service connection to your home. Make sure to keep yourself, ladders, and lights far away from them. I’m lucky to be alive. I want everyone to be careful—be aware of power lines.”

We’re here to offer some tips  to keep you and your family safe this holiday season. If you opt for the DIY approach with Christmas lights and decor, it’s important to remember:

  • Check each strand of lights before you hang them. Look for any cracked chords, frayed ends or loose connections before you plug it in to avoid a flare up or surge.
  • Ditch any antiquated lights that are still outfitted with old hardware. New lights have fused plugs that stop sparks from shooting out in the case of a short circuit, and this fundamental safety feature could save your life!
  • Be mindful of the common interaction between electrical lights and tinder-dry trees; both inside and outside the home. Christmas tree fires occur each year, and account for about 14 deaths annually.Keep your indoor Christmas tree well-watered at all times to avoid this safety hazard.
  • Replace burnt out bulbs immediately, but be mindful of the wattage you are buying. Mismatches can cause surges, sparks, and exploded bulbs.
  • Don’t use tacks, nails, or screws – these are all sharp-edged bits that can easily pierce your electrical wiring, causing all sorts of problems. Use insulated hooks instead.
  • Whenever you run extension cords at ground-level, take care to elevate all plugs and connectors. You can simply mount them on a brick or landscape feature. This keeps snow, water, and salt out of the connections to keep your decorations running smoothly.
  • Never leave your Christmas lights running when you go to bed or leave the house. Unattended lights in hostile snowy weather is a recipe for disaster!

It’s also important to mind how you operate on a ladder. There’s much more to consider than you think – don’t risk a fall by being careless! Check out our blog post on WindowGenie.com about ladder safety. A few of our favorite ladder safety takeaways are:

  • Choose a location that is far away from power lines. Coming into contact with live power lines can be fatal!
  • Place your ladder somewhere without obstruction of any kind, and make sure it is fully opened with all locking mechanisms engaged. Stay clear of any unlocked doors.
  • Make sure that the ladder is placed on level ground. Avoid any rocky surfaces, loose or slippery substances, or wet grass.
  • Always face the ladder when climbing. Never try to walk yourself up backwards.
  • Make sure the rungs are dry and wear slip-resistant shoes that will create a lot of friction.
  • Stand at or below the highest safe standing level on a ladder. For a step ladder, the safe standing level is the second rung from the top; for an extension ladder, the safe standing level is typically the fourth rung.
  •  Move the ladder as necessary to prevent the need to overreach. As a general rule, if your belt buckle crosses to either side of the ladder, then you are reaching too far.
  • Keep the distance between the foot of the extension ladder and the wall to no more than 1/4 to 1/3 of the height of the wall that you are scaling.

If any of this sounds like something you’d like to avoid, then consider leaving it to the professionals. Your Holiday Lights is a Window Genie company — the same trained, insured professionals you’ve trusted with your home’s window cleaning, window tinting, pressure washing and gutter cleaning needs will be there to get your holiday lighting done safely. Call 888-311-8882 for a free estimate.

Continue reading “Tradition or Tragedy? Christmas Light Safety Tips”