For most, the holiday season conjures up lots of good thoughts and memories. For our good friends at the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the holidays are a dangerous peril that cannot be navigated without its supervision. According to CPSC statisticians, there were 12 fatalities and an estimated 14,500 injuries during the 2014 holiday season due to undefined “holiday decorations.” As such, the CPSC feels that 2015 is the perfect opportunity to count down the “12 Ways to Celebrate Safely.” It’s a list that certainly does not end with a partridge in a pear tree.
In typical CPSC fashion, there is nothing new or revolutionary about its safety tips. In fact, we are pretty sure they were developed upon watching Clark Griswold decorate the family manor in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. For example, the CPSC warns us to use caution on ladders and to take care when using sharp, weighted, or breakable decorations. If you are not aware of the properties of fire, the CPSC also reminds us that we should keep lighted candles away from things that can catch fire, like evergreen trees. And, thanks to your tax dollars, we now know that decorations that look like food might be tempting treats for children.
The CPSC probably came up with this impressive list of holiday tips based on thousands of hours of research and an abundance of empirical data. While we here at Abnormal Use don’t have such material at our disposal, we have been through a holiday season or two. As such, we do consider ourselves experts on the issue, and,thus, offer you, our dear readers, these more practical tips to get you through the holidays:
1. If you must go all Clark Griswold with your decorations, pay somebody to put them up for you. There are people who earn a living doing it. Use them. Half of the CPSC’s tips would be moot if more people did. We recognize that finances are a little tighter over the holidays, but if you can spend $500 on thousands of lights and $200 on a 20′ inflatable Santa Claus, you should be able to spare a few bucks for some help.
2. Stay away from the combined-family get together. While physical altercations are a rare occurrence, your mental state is greatly compromised when the immediate family and the in-laws intermingle under one roof. If the combined party is unavoidable, see tip number 3.
3. Limit alcohol consumption. The perils of alcohol are well-documented. Over-consumption leads directly to the increased likelihood of passive aggressive comments said over the dinner table that you will have to hear about long after the holiday season has passed. If you need alcohol for yourself, find a flask and a spare bedroom.
4. Don’t go rogue with gift buying. Listen to your spouse/significant other as he/she drops subtle hints about gift ideas. Ideally, this is a year-long process. We recommend keeping a spare note pad handy and jotting down any item mentioned by your spouse/significant other during the calendar year to use as a reference during the holiday season. (In fact, it comes in handy for birthdays and anniversaries as well).
5. If you have children and celebrate Christmas, remember that Santa plans months in advance and utilizes the services of elves. Santa is smart enough not to spend his whole night putting toys together. He is tired and knows that injuries (either to himself or the toys) are much more likely during a 3 a.m. assembly than if he put the toys together off-site a week ahead of time.
These tips may or may not be as common sense as those formulated by the CPSC, but at least they didn’t cost any of your tax dollars. We just hope that our tips can help you learn from our past experiences. We would love to hear any tips you might want to share with us!