Smart, Safe Holiday Decorating
These products will preserve your Yuletide cheer by making quick, safe work of decorating
Power Providers, clockwise from upper left: Powerlink attached to Coldweather Cord, SocketMax Duo, Remote Control Light Switch
Some of the less joyful holiday traditions, like hanging lights with frozen fingers, searching for the dead bulb on a string of lights and the postholiday pine needle pickup, might seem as inevitable as Dick Clark on New Year's Eve, but they don't have to be. As proof, we've assembled a number of products and tips that will make decorating easier and safer.
There are better—and safer—ways to power your exterior decorations than running extension cords out windows that you open a crack.
If you're willing to temporarily trade in an exterior floodlight, the SocketMax Duo (Stanley) screws into the receptacle to provide a plug with a built-in photosensor to turn lights on at dusk.
The Lamar Stake Light (Frontgate) is a portable power strip with a protective cover and a built-in timer. When running extension cords, make sure that the cord is approved for exterior use.
The Coldweather Cord (Woods) can stand up to temperatures as low as -58 degrees F. Another plus: The cord has a built-in light to let you know if it's getting power.
Avoid stringing too many lights end to end with the multireceptacle Powerlink (Woods).
When it's time to turn everything off for the night, reach for the Remote Control Light Switch (Stanley) so you don't have to go outside.
Gutter Clips (Adams Manufacturing) are a safer and easier way to hang lights outside. The clips can be installed with one hand, and slide into place without damaging the gutter.
When it's time to wrap up the season, cord rolls (Solutions) keep lights from getting tangled and get you off to a good start with the following year's deco-rations. Each roll holds two 100-light strings.
Why not hang your outside lights inside?
Light Cups (Adams Manufacturing) allow you to decorate the interior side of your windows. The cups have a built-in clamp to grab onto lights.
Suction-cupped Candle Stands (Adams Manufacturing) are especially useful for newer homes that don't have wide windowsills.
Nails and staples can damage wires and siding. Siding Hooks (Emerald Innovations) slip in between the courses of vinyl siding without harming the material.
Solutions cord rolls
The seasonal light-hanging tradition can damage trees and shrubs—and homeowners.
Consider net lighting (Frontgate) for smaller shrubs.
For taller trees and gutters, the Yard Arm (Emerald Innovations) can help you position your decorations without having to worry if your fingers are going to stick to aluminum ladder rungs in cold weather.
Want ways to save your woodwork?
For storm doors and steel doors, consider using a heavy-duty Hanger Magnet (Solutions).
Wood doors can benefit from a Wreath Hanger (Solutions) that hooks over the door. No nasty nails required.
Newer tree stands are easier to set up and more tip-resistant (an important feature if you have young kids or pets), and have larger reservoirs than those old sheet-metal stands.
The EZ-H20 Stand (HMS Mfg.) has a wide-mouth side for easy fill-ups. It also features two sets of screws at different heights to ensure that the trunk won't shift once it's in place.
The two-part Swivel Straight tree stand (Frontgate) has a separate tree-holder collar that slides onto the trunk and a base equipped with a swivel mechanism for straightening the tree.
The StandMax (Stanley) has a quick-grip system that grabs the trunk just by pressing the pins rather than turning them.
Santa's Boots (Solutions) solves the problem of keeping the tree watered while you are away. It uses capillary action to supply the stand with an extra 2 gal.
Because water and at least a few pine needles usually end up on the floor, consider the Floor Guard plastic "saucer" (HMS Mfg.) for extra insurance.
Safety and Convenience
Play it safe this holiday season.
If you've ever thought that ornament hangers have too much in common with fish hooks (picture painful pinches), you'll appreciate these plastic safety hooks (Emerald Innovations).
LED lights (Simply Lighting) are expensive, but they are the safest and most energy-efficient solution yet. Each interior light uses only .04 watts, one-eighth the amount of standard minis, and has a service life of 50,000 hours. Because they don't produce heat, they won't burn you or dry out your tree, wreaths or garland.
Have you ever been the one desperately tracking down the bad bulb while the family is waiting to decorate the tree? The light tester (Simply Lighting) can detect bad bulbs while in their sockets.
No-mar hooks for mantles
Where to Find It:
109 W. Park Rd.
Portersville, PA 16051
5566 W. Chester Rd.
W. Chester, OH 45069
437 North Main St.
Butler, PA 16001
1230 E. Big Beaver Rd.
Troy, MI 48083
140 58th St.
P.O. Box 67
Building A, Unit 6W
Brooklyn, NY 11220
Portland, OR 97228
Woods Industries, Inc.
5541 W. 74th St.
Indianapolis, IN 46268