December 11, 2017
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  • Instead of using traditional Christmas lights, opt for LED lights, which are safer.
    Instead of using traditional Christmas lights, opt for LED lights, which are safer.
  • Rustic pieces with a natural color palette will be trendy this season. Think pines, birch wood, greens, pinecones, sticks and twigs.
    Rustic pieces with a natural color palette will be trendy this season. Think pines, birch wood, greens, pinecones, sticks and twigs.

Decorating In Style And Safely

Leslie Dolsak
Leslie Dolsak's picture
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November 22, 2017
Deck the halls with boughs of holly, not folly. While this may be the assumption, it’s not always the end result.
 
Over the past few years, the number of injuries associated with holiday decorating has been on the rise, perhaps because of the sheer availability of consumer décor. Falls from ladders account for more than a half-million injuries every year nationwide. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 12,000 to 15,000 people in recent years have gone to the emergency room because of decorating accidents. That’s 250 daily preventable ER accidents from November to January.
 
So, before you go Clark Griswold on your home, consider a few tips from local experts.
 
1.  Beware of poinsettias. Both the leaves and the berries are attractive to curious small children and pets, but both parts of this festive plant are poisonous. Since they require consistent temperature and sunlight, keeping poinsettias inside is your best bet, but Cory Stephens of Anne Arundel County Farm, Lawn & Garden Center recommends “getting them out of hands’ reach.” He asserts, however, that this year’s poinsettias are better than ever. “There are some really spectacular multicolor poinsettias this year,” said Stephens, his favorite being the darker variety of chocolate poinsettias.
 
2.  Steer clear of traditional lights. Go with LED for safety. This season’s LED lights are much different from before. “One of the main objections with LED lights used to be the color, considered too cool. Now the bulbs are warmer, look more traditional in shape and are incandescent, so they’re more nostalgic,” said Rachel Edler of Homestead Gardens. “Also with LED, you can get a lot more on one power source as well, which is safer.”
 
3.  Practice proper ladder safety. Remember, lighting trees and roof lines is a two-person job. “Always have someone holding the bottom of the ladder. The ladder should be a minimum of three feet longer than the working surface or roof line,” said Sean Meagher, a member of Homestead Gardens’ landscape division.
 
4.  Use the right type of ladder. Meagher says to steer clear of metal ladders, which conduct electricity. Instead, use wooden or fiberglass.
 
5.  Opt for the professionals. Everyone always seems to be pressed for time during the holidays, so leaving the lighting to the pros, while it is more costly, could save beloved family members from accidents and greater costs in the long run. Despite good efforts by homeowners, the pros just seem to light it up better. “We have a certain way of wrapping trees with lights starting at the top and working their way down,” Meagher added. Professional holiday lighting typically starts at the $800 mark.
 
6.  With candles all aglow, consider using battery-operated candles, especially amid all the holiday hustle and bustle. After all, the top three days for home candle fires are Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
 
7.  Focus on the living: wreaths, garlands and centerpieces. “This year’s look is very rustic: pines, birch wood, succulents, magnolias, silver dollar eucalyptus branches, dusty miller greens combined with pinecones and a lot of wild animal ornaments — like owls, deer and bears — mixed into flower arrangements. Sticks and twigs are very big,” said Martha D’Onofrio, who owns Always Blooming Florist and Boutique.
 
8.  The natural color palette of greens, browns, whites and silver are apparent this year, but D’Onofrio says the more classic, holiday look of green and red traditional centerpieces is always popular locally.
 
So, if the thought of bedazzling your home with lights becomes more of a pain-point than a joy, perhaps you might want to consider a more nature-focused theme, which is on trend for the 2017 holiday season.

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