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Christmas: Hazards at every turn

December 23, 2009 |  5:53 pm

Christmas tree Christmas countdown, continued:

The festival is more than a time for rum toddies, good cheer, family/hearth/home, holiday buffets, etc. Yes, it's also a time of danger! The Washington Post reminds us of this fact in an article titled "Christmas Perils."

"Not to be too bah humbug about it, but what if you get sick from that eggnog? Or what if that beautiful tree is too close to the radiator and ignites?," the article begins. "We've compiled some helpful tips."

Aah good, Holiday Season tips! (If you like tips you'll love Jeannine Stein's recent blog entry on the many, many tips we on the West Coast have received.)

It's informative, actually. How often do people set their Christmas trees on fire? Haven't you always wondered? "Christmas trees account for about 200 fires annually, resulting in six deaths, 25 injuries and more than $6 million in property damage, according to the U.S. Fire Administration," the article tells us.

And what about holiday plant poisoning? American poison call centers get nigh-on 2,000 calls a year about "exposure to" poinsettias, though inquiries are also made about the consequences of eating mistletoe and holly, we read. No deaths, you'll be glad to learn. Christmas cactus--I've got three in my house--doesn't make the list. Just to be safe, I won't eat them.

Opening packages represents more of a hazard than eating greenery, it seems, with 6,000 ER visits a year. 

It's not mentioned, but you should also beware of the hazards of Christmas tree ornaments, as blogged here by Tami Dennis a while back.

Enjoy your holidays--if you make it through them.

-- Rosie Mestel

Photo credit: Barbara Walton / EPA