Each year, Americans across the country go to great lengths to get into the holiday spirit. Unfortunately, at least a few of these festive folks will find themselves stepping on a glass ornament, falling off a ladder while hanging lights, or dealing with a house fire caused by that real (real dry) Christmas tree. It is not the most wonderful time of the year for them.

Every day during the busy holiday season, there are about 200 decorating-related injuries, says Ann Marie Buerkle, acting chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). We all want the holidays to be a magical time, but we won’t magically avoid these top holiday-related mishaps without some common-sense precautions.   Here are the most prevalent injuries and how to avoid them.

  • 1


    Lacerations most often occur from touching or stepping on broken tree ornaments or light fixtures. These are often made of glass and other fragile material which can easily shatter and cause a severe laceration. It may seem like common sense, but make sure to carefully sweep up any broken ornaments or lights as soon as they break.

  • 2

    Serious Wounds

    Those who suffer more serious wounds often report they were trying to trim their trees using a chainsaw, hacksaw, or even just a sharp box cutter. If it is absolutely necessary to trim the tree, it is important to make sure there is nothing that could cause you to fall or trip. In addition, keep all body parts out of the way of any sharp tools. However, it’s not just tree-trimming that can be dangerous. If a gift has plastic packaging and needs to cut open with a pocket knife or box cutter, take care to cut it away from the body and avoid touching the cut plastic.

  • 3

    Electric Shocks

    Christmas lights are lovely to look at, but many people can receive severe electric shocks when trying to put up or take down their lights. Take care to always follow the proper safety precautions when putting up lights in order to prevent electrical shocks.

  • 4


    Falls are common when decorating for the holidays.  When using a ladder to put up outdoor lights or reach the top of the tree, make sure to secure the ladder and use proper ladder safety in order to prevent any falls. Oh, and no swivel chairs.

  • 5

    Burns and Smoke Inhalation

    Some people just can’t do fake trees, which is fine. However, when purchasing a real Christmas tree, don’t forget that it needs maintenance. A dry tree can easily catch on fire. Check the water level every day to make sure the tree doesn’t dry up to the point where it may serve as kindling. Other fire hazards include fireplaces, candles, and holiday cooking.  Never leave these unattended. 

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