The holidays are right around the corner, and if you haven't started already, it's time to get decorating! There's nothing quite like a log home decorated for the holidays, especially with a fire roaring indoors and cheery lights twinkling outdoors. If you're planning on dressing your log home up for the holidays, here are a few safety tips to make sure your decorations don't hurt your home, or your family:

Stay away from power lines

If you're doing any outdoor decorating, be sure you're staying far away from the power lines, and you're keeping any decorations at a safe distance as well. Power lines are dangerous, and getting too close can cause electrocution. Winter storms can bring lines down as well, and if they're anywhere near your decorations that can cause fire and additional electrocution hazards.

Choose safe lights

For both indoor and outdoor lights, be sure you're choosing those that have been approved for wherever you plan on using them. LED lights are the best option for a long lifespan and to avoid overheating and potential fires, but we get that they're a bit more expensive. No matter what lights you end up choosing, look for the green or red holographic Underwriters Laboratories (UL) marks on all light strings. Underwriters Laboratories is a private company that tests and certifies holiday lights for safety. A green holographic mark means the lights are safe for indoor use only, and a red mark means they're good to go inside or out.

Keep tree away from fireplace

If you have a Christmas tree, be sure to keep it well away from the fireplace. A number of winter-time house fires are started because of a Christmas tree that was too close to a flame. Since the trees are dead, they can easily dry out and catch fire while they're in your log home. So be sure to keep your tree well watered, and place it a safe distance from any open flames.

Turn off lights before you go to bed

It's a good best practice to turn all your holiday lights off before you go to bed. This ensures you don't have any overheating, fires, or electrical issues while you and your family is asleep. If your lights are hooked up to a switch, this is an easy task. Remember that this means your tree too. You definitely don't want lights on the tree to overheat and start a fire when you're not present to put it out immediately.

Choose unbreakable ornaments

If you have kids or pets, you might want to keep those precious glass ornaments in the box this year. Unfortunately, they probably won't survive a crash to the wood floor due to curious finger or paws. If you really want to put them out, consider putting them high on the tree, or using them as decorations in other places, such as in window dressings or table centerpieces, where they're less likely to fall and can be slightly more secure.

Keep poinsettias out of reach

Poinsettias are actually poisonous when ingested. So though they do look lovely on the holidays, if you have small children you may want to give yours away to the neighbors or place them on the mantle or above cabinetry, where no one can reach them.

If you have a metal roof

A number of log homes opt for a metal roof, and as you might expect, there are a few different safety concerns when it comes to decorating a metal roof, rather than an asphalt one. Luckily, in most cases, it's a lot easier to decorate a metal roof, so long as you have right tools. Here are a few safety tips for decorating your log home's metal roof:

Use magnetic hooks to hang lights

Since metal roofs are slippery, it's hard to use clip-on hooks. However, they do make magnetic hooks for this exact purpose. They're special strength magnets so lights won't be blown off by high winds or heavy snow, and they're super easy to string. When each light just snaps in place, it won't take you very long to get the lights up. Best of all, the magnets are totally safe to use on your log home's metal roof.

Make sure to check lights before you string them up

The last thing you want is a roof fire because of an electrical issue with your lights. Though metal roofs are highly flame resistant, it's a good best practice to check each string of lights before you put them up. Look for any exposed wires, and replace any burnt out bulbs before you put them up on the roof. This will help avoid any electrical malfunction, and it will save you the trouble of having to replace bulbs once the lights are already way up on the roof.

Don't overload outlets

Finally, when you're working on your outdoor decoration masterpiece, be sure to avoid overloading outlets. It's easy to do when you're competing for the best-decorated home in the neighborhood but to avoid a blackout, be sure to space your lights out between different outlets so one doesn't have to handle the full load. When you're decorating outdoors, it's also important to be sure you're connecting those lights to a grounded outlet, to lessen the potential for an electrical mishap. Holiday decorating is one of the best ways to get into the spirit of the season, and these small tips will help you ensure your log home is decorated safely. If, while you're stringing up lights outdoors, you notice a few exterior touch-ups to make to your log home before the family comes over for the holidays, head on over to Timeless Woodcare! We've got everything you need to get your log home looking festive for the holiday season, from log home stain to chinking and caulk. Give us a call 800-564-2987, stop in, or check out our new website for any log home maintenance product you're looking for!