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How to ensure your holiday lights don't ruin the season

Monica Beyer is a mom of four and has been writing professionally since 2000, when her first book, Baby Talk, was published. Her main area of interest is attachment parenting and all that goes with it, including breastfeeding, co-sleepin...

Your holiday lights may be more of a hazard than you think

Holiday lights are a delightful component of many winter celebrations, but you want to make sure that you're going about it the right way — and not creating an annoying (or even dangerous) situation.

Wi-Fi got you down?

For starters, did you know that your holiday lights can disturb your Wi-Fi signal? If you're not getting the output you normally do or it seems like you've got a connectivity problem, the first thing to do is restart your router. Better yet, move it to a different part of your home — away from your Christmas lights and other electronic devices. The reason? All of it competes for different frequencies, so relocating your router can bring your Wi-Fi back up to speed.

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Don't annoy your neighbors

While you want to make the most amazing holiday display ever, take heed of your neighbors' perspective. Keeping the light show off at night is your best bet — shoot for 8 or 9 p.m. as your cutoff point, not only because some displays can be pretty bright, but because a great light show can attract motorists who are out looking for amazing holiday lights — this is especially true if you have lights that blink to the beat of loud music.

Check your cords

With all the extra lights, you'll need to plug them in. But don't do a National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation number on your lighting setup because it can put you and your family at great risk of injury, fire and death. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, make sure your electrical cords are properly rated for either indoor or outdoor use, and that they meet, at a minimum, the output you need to power your display. Do not overload extension cords, and keep all cords clear of snow or standing water.

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Watch those candles

While many have moved to electrical sources of light, some still rely on natural candlelight for holiday decor. The top tip? Never leave a burning candle unattended. Also, ensure that there is nothing anywhere close to your burning flame that can ignite, such as drapes and other holiday decorations. And although in days past, folks would put real candles in their actual Christmas trees, this is definitely not a good idea, so don't be tempted to do the same.

Continue to be vigilant

Once your lights are safely strung, your job is not over. It's best to turn your light displays off when you're not at home as well as once you retire for the night, and check your displays routinely for damage to the cords. Don't forget to ensure that there is nothing new pressing down on your cords, either, such as a blown-down branch on your roof, or a pile of books that someone accidentally left on the Christmas tree cord.

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The holidays are peaceful, thrilling, beautiful and a time of warmth and togetherness. With a few tips in mind, you can keep your Wi-Fi running smoothly, your neighbors happy and your home safe.

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