Christmas Lights Safety Tips For the Holiday Season

It’s that festive time of year again when we decorate our homes with Christmas lights. While they make everything look cheerful, we must not forget about safety. Every year, Christmas lights cause around 770 fires!

As you get ready to decorate, make sure you know how to do it safely to avoid any accidents like falling or getting an electric shock. Before you start hanging your lights, take a little time to learn some simple safety tips. This way, you can enjoy the holidays without any worries.

Do Christmas Lights Cause Fires?

The thought that twinkling lights could lead to a blazing fire is, indeed, a scary one. However, the question arises, do Christmas lights cause fires? The answer is yes, they can, if not used appropriately.

Misuse or negligence can transform these beautiful decorations into potential fire hazards. But don’t panic! By observing a few precautionary measures, you can prevent such unfortunate incidents.

Important Safety Tips for Christmas Lights

Are all Christmas lights indoor-outdoor?

The first checkpoint in your Christmas Light Safety Tip journey is choosing the right lights. Recognize that there are indoor and outdoor lights, and they are not interchangeable. Indoor lights, typically lighter and less insulated, are not designed to withstand the elements outside. On the other hand, outdoor lights may be too robust and hot for indoor use, posing a fire risk.

Labels & Safety Instructions

Next, reading and understanding labels and safety instructions is a crucial step often overlooked. All Christmas lights should come with a label from a recognized testing laboratory, indicating they meet safety standards. Familiarize yourself with what these labels signify. Make sure to read the instructions for how many light strands can be safely connected together.

Check Extension Cords 

Inspect all of your extension cords for signs of abrasion. Instead of attempting to repair them with tape, it is recommended to invest in a new extension cord. For safety purposes, consider using an outdoor-rated cord as indoor extension cords have the potential to overheat and pose a fire hazard.

Check for Damaged Lights

A key Christmas Light Safety Tip is checking for damages before use. Before you start hanging your lights, check each string for any frayed wires, cracked sockets, nicks in the cord, or loose connections. Using damaged lights may cause electrical short circuits, leading to electric fires, and any nicks in the cord could pose a risk of electric shock.

Is it Dangerous to Leave Christmas Lights on All Night?

As much as we love the sight of our Christmas lights twinkling all night, leaving them on unattended is a risk. Always turn off your Christmas lights before going to bed or leaving the house. Not only does this prevent potential overheating and fire risks, but it also saves energy and extends the life of your lights.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Installing Christmas Lights Indoors

Do’s for Installing Indoor Christmas Lights

  1. Use the Correct Clips: Always use insulated holders or plastic clips to hang lights indoors. They are safer than nails or staples and will not damage the cords.
  2. LED Lights: LED lights are much more energy-efficient than traditional incandescent lights. They reduce your electrical load significantly. If you don’t have LEDs, opt for mini lights which run cooler than larger bulbs.
  3. The Right Socket: Make sure to use lights that are tested and approved for outdoor use by safety organizations. These should be marked on the packaging and cords. For outdoor decorations, plug them into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet to prevent electrical hazards.
  4. Switch Them Off: Remember to switch off and unplug your Christmas lights when you leave the house or go to bed.

Don’ts for Installing Indoor Christmas Lights

  1. Avoid Overloading: Be careful not to power too many light strings from the same outlet or extension cord. Overloading can lead to damage in your electrical wiring and dim lights.
  2. Don’t Use Outdoor Lights: Avoid using outdoor lights inside. They are often hotter than indoor lights and can become fire hazards.
  3. Avoid Flammable Materials: Do not let your lights touch flammable materials like curtains, carpets, or furniture.

Can You Staple Christmas Lights?

Stapling Christmas lights around your house may seem like a quick and easy solution. However, it is not recommended to staple Christmas lights as this can damage the cords or create an electrical hazard. Using approved clips that won’t puncture the wires is best.

Christmas Tree Light Safety

Decorating the Christmas tree with lights is a cherished tradition, but it’s crucial to do it safely. First, always turn off and unplug the lights when you leave the house or go to bed. This will not only save energy but also significantly reduce the risk of a fire starting from a short circuit or overheated bulb.

Second, use LED lights on your tree. They stay cooler than incandescent lights, reducing the fire risk, and they’re also more energy-efficient.

Lastly, if you’re using a real tree, keep the tree watered. A dry tree can catch fire much more quickly than one that is well-hydrated. Ensure your tree gets plenty of water, and keep it away from heat sources like fireplaces or radiators.

Outdoor Christmas Light Safety

Understanding Outdoor Christmas Light Safety is essential for illuminating your home’s exterior with festive cheer. Conducting a risk assessment before you start can prevent potential fire hazards and ensure a safe and joyful holiday.

Can Outdoor Christmas Lights Cause a Fire?

The possibility of outdoor Christmas lights causing a fire is a valid concern. While most outdoor lights are designed to withstand the elements, they can still pose a risk if not installed or maintained properly.

How to Safely Connect Christmas Lights OutdoorChristmas light safety

  1. Plan Your Display: Before you begin, have a clear idea of where you want to hang your lights. Measure the length of the area you wish to decorate and ensure you have enough lights to cover it.
  2. Inspect Lights: As an important Christmas Light Safety Tip, always check your lights for any signs of wear and tear. Damaged lights can cause an electric shock or start a fire.
  3. Use Outdoor Rated Lights and Cords: Make sure to use lights and extension cords rated for outdoor use. These are designed to withstand cold and wet conditions.
  4. Use Plastic Clips: Secure your lights with insulated plastic clips rather than nails or staples which can damage the cord and create a potential fire hazard.
  5. Avoid Overloading: Do not connect more than three strings of lights together, and try not to overload your extension cords or outlets.
  6. Protect Plugs: Ensure all plugs are protected from the elements. Use outdoor rated surge protectors and try to keep connections away from puddles and snow.
  7. Switch Them Off: Remember to switch off and unplug your Christmas lights when you leave the house or go to bed. This will not only save energy but also significantly reduce the risk of a fire.

By following these guidelines for Outdoor Christmas Light Safety, you can create a worry-free holiday display.

How to protect Christmas lights from rain and snow

To safeguard your outdoor Christmas lights from rain and snow, use waterproof lights that are made for outdoor conditions. Protect the electrical plugs by enclosing them in plastic bags and securing with twist ties to avoid water damage and short circuits. Additionally, avoid installing lights near downspouts or areas prone to water build up to further reduce the risk of damage.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if you string too many lights together?

Stringing too many lights together can overload your electrical circuit, potentially causing a short circuit or fire hazard. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on how many strands to connect.

Can I leave Christmas lights on overnight in my room?

Leaving Christmas lights on overnight in your room is not recommended as it poses a fire risk, especially if the lights are older or damaged. Turning them off before sleeping or when unattended is safer.

Can outdoor Christmas lights cause a fire?

Outdoor Christmas lights can cause a fire if they are damaged, overloaded, or in contact with flammable materials. Ensure they are in good condition, correctly installed, and used as per safety guidelines.

Can outdoor lights be used indoors?

While outdoor lights can technically be used indoors, they may be too bright or generate too much heat for indoor use. Using lights specifically designed for indoor environments is better to ensure safety and comfort.


Following these Christmas Light Safety Tips can help ensure a joyous and worry-free holiday season. Remember to inspect your lights, follow correct installation procedures, and always prioritize safety when decorating both the inside and outside of your home.

However, accidents can happen despite our best precautions. If you suffer from any fire damage as a result of Christmas lights or any other cause, don’t hesitate to contact our team at Jenkins Restorations. We are specialists in fire restoration for homes and we’re here to help you get back on your feet and make your home feel like home again.

Have You Recently Dealt With A Fire In Your Home?

After a fire, make sure to call Jenkins Restorations to get your home – and your life – back to normal again.