First, we hope that everyone had a great Christmas and was able to enjoy a nice & safe day with family. Now that Christmas is over, it is time to start thinking about cleanup. For a great list of items to start with, we would recommend you check out our Holiday Checklist – The day after article. Seeing this is a Safety Sunday article, why not cover some often-overlooked safety and other miscellaneous tips.
Oh Christmas Tree…
The Artificial Christmas tree – besides the advice given in the article above make sure there are no decorations, especially candy canes or food based ones left on it. The plastic bag & or taped up box will not deter little critters from smelling any food like items and going after it.
Live Christmas trees – while there are plenty of articles on acclimation of your new tree that you will be planting, you also need to base this on the area you live and the size. Up towards Minnesota, Maine, etc… you will probably only want to have the tree inside for 4 to 7 days. A little further South and you can probably get away with 10 days before you need to worry about the tree starting to grow. Down here, in Alabama, Florida, Arizona we can actually get away with it for a longer period and not have to worry about acclimatizing it by watching the weather.
You see we bought our tree when it was just under 60 degrees & brought it straight inside. We didn’t have to worry about acclimatizing it because of the slight temperature difference & the highs for the next few days were in the low 40’s. While many people recommend bringing said tree outside today to start re-acclimatize it, that could easily shock it as the temperature will be in the mid 30’s. By waiting a few more days, we can bring it back outside when we are back in the high 50’s, eliminating any shock potential. Now, if you have a small table-top dwarf version – you can easily keep it inside until spring no matter what climate your in.
Fresh-cut Christmas trees – while some individuals like to keep them up till New Years, give it a good shake. If it has started drying out, it needs to go. Before bringing it in, or having it picked up do not leave it in the garage, next to the house, or on your porch as all it takes is one spark or prankster. While we are a big fan of programs offered by local cities, Boy Scout Troops and others where they mulch up / recycle your trees, you might consider using them around your house. The pine needles, bark & small branches make for great mulch while you can use the trunk for landscape dividers in your garden.
Ornaments, Lights & Decorations…
Whether interior or exterior, make sure all items are checked for damage, and by taking a few extra minutes can save you countless time come next year. We prefer to utilize the original packaging for ornaments, and Ziploc bags for each strand or type of light. Consider removing all the little hooks & placing them in a separate container so they are easy to find and use next year.
Exterior lights & decorations – in our Ten Tips for installing lights, there are 3 that also apply when taking them down; #2, #3 & #7. #7 involves using the ladder safely, while the first two revolve around testing them before packing them away. The nice thing about testing & checking them now means you can purchase replacement light or strings that are now on sale. When bringing in all the lights & exterior decorations, make sure that everything gets packed away dry & clean.
As always, please stay safe; if you feel uncomfortable, do not understand how to complete a task, etc… please call in a professional.
Additional Info & Websites:
- Tool Box Talk: Tips for working in cold weather courtesy of OSHA
- Recyling & mulching your own Christmas Tree – Pine Tree Barn & New York City