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OFF BEAT: Safety tips for last-minute tree-buying, decorating


If holiday films like “Home Alone” and “Bad Santa” weren’t enough of an indication, Christmas can be a dangerous time of year.

To promote safety this holiday season, AA, an insurer and emergency services provider in Ireland, warned customers about some “very dodgy and downright dangerous attempts” at strapping a Christmas tree to the car.

“A solitary piece of twine running in one door and out the other just doesn’t cut it!” AA wrote on its website. “If it’s carried out correctly however, you’ll ensure the safety of your passengers, other motorists and pedestrians.”

AA suggested measuring the tree before strapping it to the car to make sure it fits on the roof without too much overhang. It’s also important to make sure the tree is enclosed in netting before attaching it to the car, according to AA.

“Fix the stump end of the tree toward the front of your car to ensure that if there is some overhang, it won’t obstruct your view,” AA notes. Then secure the tree by wrapping durable rope or bungee cords around the tree and the inside of your roof, “using several rather than just one long one. Give the tree a good tug to ensure it is fixed correctly before taking off.”

The Irish Daily Star recently published the results from an AA survey about “festive accidents,” which asked more than 9,300 people about their Christmas mishaps.

According to survey results published by the newspaper, more than one in 10 holiday disasters involved Christmas decorations.

“People said they have had electric shocks and fallen off ladders while hanging up the decorations — while some said they also started a house fire with them,” according to the Irish Daily Star’s report.