Being safe with Christmas lights
People often think that safety for Christmas lights starts and ends with the lights themselves, this simply isn't true. It actually starts at the Christmas tree.
If you decide to purchase an artificial tree, make sure it is fire resistant. There are plenty of cheap trees out there, but you'd be surprised just how many are not fire resistant!
If you are buying a natural tree get it as fresh as possible. You want a vibrant green tree with hard waxy needles. Anything even remotely brown will go up like a bonfire. A tree with slight browning will also likely begin to shed on your floor, not something you want to have to clean up after Christmas!
Now that you have this in order, you can move on to the big decision - which lights to purchase? For starters, make sure they are safety tested. This should be printed clearly on any box of Christmas lights you purchase. Don't use different bulb sizes on one extension chord. Metallic trees are a nightmare with Christmas lights, if a bulb splits and touches a branch it is possible to be electrocuted.
If you decide to spruce up the outside of your home with lights, make sure they are designed for use outside. The lights need to be held properly in place, protecting them from wind and other weather damage. Always turn off the lights when you are not around. Do not leave them on all day and definitely do not leave them on in the evening. Make sure any equipment you are plugging into is properly earthed and has surge protection.
Christmas lights are beautiful and nothing to be afraid of. Just make sure that you take the necessary precautions to have a bright, safe Christmas.