How to Safely Undecorate Your Home

Southern California Edison offers tips on safe holiday decoration removal and storage.

If your stockings were hung by the chimney with care, do the same when removing decorations to avoid despair.

Electrical Safety Foundation reports that nearly 25% of holiday fires are caused by decorations. So, start the new year safely by taking some extra time to carefully remove your holiday decorations and planning how to store them safely.

Southern California Edison offers the following tips on how to safely take down and store holiday decorations to reduce the chances of fire or shock hazards:

  • Take down decorations soon after the holidays are over. Holiday lights are not designed for long-term use. The longer lights stay up, the more likely they will deteriorate.
  • Check each strand for damage and frayed or exposed wires. Replace broken or missing bulbs or fuses before storing them.
  • Unplug lights before handling them, and never touch live wires or sockets.
  • Use the gripping area on the plug when taking down electric holiday decorations. Pulling on the cord can damage the wire. Gently remove decorations from trees, bushes and structures.
  • Store lights in a cool, dry and dark place. Don’t store lights near flammable materials, sharp objects, chemicals or magnets. Keep them out of reach of pets and children.
  • Separate and label indoor and outdoor string lights so they don’t get mixed up next year.
  • Donate or recycle any unwanted lights. Don’t throw them in the trash or curbside recycling; the glass breaks easily, and the cord can get tangled around heavy machinery during the recycling sorting process.
  • Dispose of your live Christmas tree early in the new year. Live trees dry out with time, making them more flammable. Consider recycling your tree to be converted into compost, mulch and wood chips by contacting your local city sanitation department or other tree recycling services.

For more information on how to keep you and your family safe, visit