Warming Up Your home for the Holidays & Remembering Safety First
It’s beginning to be the “season.” Have you noticed the retailers are in full swing? The hustle and bustle is about to start with shopping, busy schedules, changing weather and counting down the days until the New Year! So, before the holidays are upon us and the guests arrive, here are some basic around the house things to remember!
•CLEAN areas that will get heavy use: Microwave ovens, refrigerators, coffee makers, the dryer vent, and the garage – especially important in areas of the country that have severely cold winters. Change filters on the furnace now and every few months.
•TIGHTEN cabinet doors, sharpen knives or replace them, repair exterior steps, replace toilet seats that are chipping.
•CHECK smoke and carbon monoxide detectors – simply test the button and change batteries at least once a year.
•CHILD PROOF – Even if you do not have young children, remember that your guests may. Electric outlets can be easily covered and electrical cords tucked out of the way. Large screen TV sets are increasingly becoming a safety risk for young children. Be sure to mount your TV on the wall or secure it to the stand with a Universal Flat Screen Safety Straps from your local appliance or online store. These are made specifically to hold the TV in place should someone pull on it or in the case of an earthquake.
•FOOD SAFETY- Clean all countertops and never leave meat or poultry out of the refrigerator for long, dairy products too. According to the National Fire Protection Association, the use of outdoor turkey fryers is discouraged – consider an Oil-Free Electric Turkey Roaster – and your arteries will also thank you.
•HOLIDAY TREE SAFETY – Artificial trees should be labeled as fire retardant. Choose a fresh tree with needles that do not come off easily. Cut 1-2” off the base of the tree before placing it in a watered tree stand, water daily. Place the tree 3 feet away from any heat sources, never block and exit and use certified lighting, LED or traditional, designated for indoor use. Make sure all lights are working and wiring is intact. Turn off the lights when you leave the house. Dispose of the tree after the holidays or when needles start falling off. Ladders are the cause of many accidents associated with the tree. Make sure the ladder is level, use a spotter, have a helper hand you what is needed and avoid reaching too far.
•EXTERIOR LIGHTING – Turn lights on after 7PM, the electric “rush hour.” Never use more than one extension cord. Keep electrical connections away from metal rain gutters unless you want a “Chevy Chase Christmas Vacation” scenario!
WARM UP YOUR HOME FOR FAMILY & FRIENDS – Nothing says welcome home like an attractive doormat and a wreath on the front door. Whether it’s mixed leaves, ornaments, white berry, and backyard finds such as pine cones, pine needles, boxwood, and dried assortments or maybe even something whimsical and sparkling, it all makes for a great way to greet guests.
To add extra warmth, set out some throw blankets on the couch for snuggling and staying warm, light the fire and arrange furniture closer to the hearth, display your family photo albums on the coffee table along with some of your favorite books. Add some candles on the mantel along with some accent strands of mini lights here and there. Whether scented or not, or even the new battery operated remote control pillar candles, they all add a wonderful glow to the room.
Load up the bar area, real or designated space, with some pretty glasses, fresh citrus fruits – lemons, limes and oranges to add to your favorite cocktails. If you haven’t tried Meyer lemons you’ll want to and they will most likely become a favorite! Pomegranate is another terrific bar fruit and a wonderful addition to sparkling wines.
Add some special touches to guest rooms by using lux sheeting or even flannel for a cozy night’s sleep. Provide a basket of toiletries, extra rolled towels and a couple of crossword and puzzle books for your guests.
Last but not least, take some time to sit by the fire and allow your senses to enjoy the ambience you have created. With the scent of your favorite candle in the air, the feel of soft blankets over your shoulders and the warm glow of the fire, you’ll really enjoy drinking a glass of your favorite holiday cheer!