The holidays are a time to reconnect with family and friends, but they also can present seasonal safety hazards. Here are some tips to help you entertain safely in your home this holiday season.

Water your Christmas tree. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, tree-related fires cause an average of 17 deaths and $13 million of property damage each year. In 7 to 10 seconds, a dry tree can become engulfed with flames as high as 30 feet, as seen in this clip from the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Dry branches can act as tinder, causing sparks to fly out into your living space or up the chimney. To help keep your tree fresh, the National Christmas Tree Association recommends adding one quart of water per day for each inch of the trunk’s diameter.

Make sure your home is childproof. Keep decorations with small parts out of kids’ reach. Avoid decorating your tree with items that are food-inspired, such as popcorn strands. A child may pull them down and attempt to eat them. And be sure your child doesn’t have access to dangerous plants. Mistletoe, holly berries and Jerusalem cherries can be poisonous if consumed in large amounts.

Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. Broken or exposed wires can cause metallic trees to become electrically charged so they shock or electrocute. Instead, opt for colored lights attached to the ceiling or wall that can shine on the tree.

Extinguish candles before leaving the house or going to bed. On average, candle-related fires cause 150 deaths and $385 million in property damage each holiday season. One-half of those deaths occur between midnight and 6 a.m. from candles that were forgotten and continued to burn. Always place candles in stable holders and keep them in safe areas where they will not be accidentally toppled over.

Don’t let your garbage advertise your new gadgets. Make sure to recycle the boxes of any expensive items you received over the holidays. Setting out a box with the picture of a giant TV on it is a prime invitation for burglars.

Also, be sure check out and share the State Farm Holiday Safety Video.

Do you have any holiday safety tips to share? If so, leave a comment below with your holiday safety tip and you’ll be entered into a contest to win a $50 Amazon gift card.

Additional Entries

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Mocha Dad’s “State Farm Helps You Keep Safe This Holiday Season” Contest starts on Wednesday, December 21, 2011 and ends Wednesday, December 28, 2011 at 11:59 a.m. (CST), and is open to all Mocha Dad readers, subscribers, and/or fans in the continental U.S. No purchase required. Relatives and employees of Mocha Dad Media are not eligible to win. You are also ineligible if you’ve won a prize from this blog within the past 60 days. One winner will be chosen via Random.org and announced on Thursday, December 29, 2011. You must leave your contact information to collect your prize. If a winner does not respond within 3 days, a new winner will be chosen. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received compensation and/or one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. All opinions are my own.