We’ve all seen the holiday movies where the decoration process takes a turn for the comical. Sometimes reality can closely resemble that of fiction on TV. If you recall a scene from 1989’s National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, you remember Uncle Lewis setting the fully decorated tree on fire in the living room. Makes for hilarious movie watching with family, but unfortunately, more than 400 Americans die every year and more than 1,000 are injured in holiday-related fires, says Forbes. The biggest culprit? Open candle flames, which incidentally cause $900 million in damages.
Let’s take a look at a couple of popular holiday decorating mishaps from the movies, and hopefully we can keep all those mishaps on the big screen where they belong – for our entertainment!
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Remember that Christmas tree explosion scene perpetrated by Uncle Lewis? Well, turns out Christmas trees are responsible for more than 200 fires each year. As a side note, always make sure your tree is healthy with green needles (brown are more flammable). The funny scenes in this movie are too much to count, but from a decorating-gone-wrong standpoint, we all remember Clark Griswold’s attempt to string up “250 strands of lights, 100 individual bulbs per strand, for a grand total of 25,000 imported Italian twinkle lights!” We all know how that turns out.
Rewind to the decorating process earlier that day: recall that big tangle of lights? This is a pretty common frustration among homeowners. Martha Stewart recommends raveling each set of lights around a stuff piece of cardboard, with no strings overlapping. Next year, you’ll have no mess to contend with and you won’t have to thrust a ball of lights at your son to untangle!
Christmas with the Kranks
This movie, modeled after the popular book called “Skipping Christmas” by John Grisham, features a roof decorating stunt that nearly costs the homeowner (played by Tim Allen) his life as he attempts to haul a giant Frosty the Snowman onto his roof. This attempt at keeping up with the Joneses makes for hilarious movie viewing but in real life, this is a deadly holiday mishap waiting to happen. According to the CDC, more than 17,000 people are treated in emergency rooms around the country due to holiday decorating-related falls.
Rather than climb up on the roof, stick to the sides of your home or the bushes below. If you absolutely must get up high on a ladder or the roof, use the buddy system and make sure you use the proper safety equipment, such as ladder stabilizers and safety harnesses. Even better: hire a professional.
Enjoy your holiday movies this year and have fun laughing at all the decorating mishaps. Just remember to heed these safety warnings in real life!