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More Coffee or a Nap?

Do you want to say nap? I do! Sometimes a nap just sounds perfect in the middle of the day to get me through to the end and according to research, it can be. A study at the Mayo Clinic shows a nap can be a great addition to afternoons when a cup of coffee isn’t enough to get you through the day.

A well-timed and thought-out nap can be a positive way to boost energy. In addition to more energy, a nap may help you relax and feel more alert.  The benefits of a brief 5-15 min nap are almost immediate after the nap and the effects can last 1-3 hours. Consider taking a nap when you feel sleepy or run down. On days when you are wanting a burst of energy, a nap may be the ticket to getting you revitalized. Consider these tips when napping:

  1. Take naps during the early afternoon so you aren’t interfering with your bedtime routine. Aim to complete your nap by 3 pm.
  2. Create a cozy napping environment. Just like at bedtime, have your nap room be dark, calm, and quiet with minimal distractions.
  3. Keep your nap short. Your nap should only be 10-20 minutes long. Naps that are longer can cause you to be groggy or interfere with your sleep cycle.

After napping give yourself time to fully wake up. Allowing time to stretch your body can also help you wake up and return to your daily tasks. Try these tips to elevate your nap and notice a better mood, better performance, and memory along with reduced fatigue.

Happy Napping!

Written by: Alisha Barton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Miami County.

Reviewed by:  Amanda Bohlen, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Washington County.

Sources:

L;, L. N. (n.d.). The effects of napping on cognitive functioning. Progress in brain research. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21075238/

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2022, November 9). How to get a great nap. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/napping/art-20048319

Napping: Benefits and tips. Sleep Foundation. (2023, June 23). https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene/napping

Earth Everyday

With Earth Day celebrated in April, it can be a great month to pause and reflect on you and your family’s impact on our planet. There are many ways we can show up for our planet in the way we live. While some of these changes may seem small and insignificant, they really can add up over time. In fact, small everyday changes not only add up, but they help us feel as if we are doing something to positively contribute to climate solutions.

If you are looking for some simple changes you can start today by considering:

Walk when you can. Try to avoid unnecessary trips in the car or take public transport when available.  Carpooling can also help reduce your carbon footprint.

Avoid single-use plastics. This may be tricky but pay attention to the products you choose with unnecessary plastic packaging. Take reusable bags when shopping and reuse produce bags when you can. Purchase reusable silverware and straws to use when on the go instead of taking disposable items when you must be on the go.

Consider additional ways to be sustainable at home. Look for ways to reduce what goes into the trash. Everyday items that are thrown away can add up. Evaluate what these may be in your home and find washable, reusable, or less-waste alternatives. For example, can a plastic storage bag be washed and used again? Can an old t-shirt be repurposed as a rag to reduce paper towels?

Is there a change you can begin today? Get your family involved to make your change more lasting. Starting small and involving your family helps ensure your changes will last longer. A fun way to involve your family is to calculate your carbon footprint. This takes less than five minutes and can help you identify ways to improve. Good luck in your journey to be more sustainable!

Written by: Alisha Barton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Miami County.

Reviewed by:  Amanda Bohlen, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Washington County.

Sources:

Environmental Protection Agency. (2016, September 29). What you can do: At home. EPA. Retrieved April 25, 2023, from https://19january2017snapshot.epa.gov/climatechange/what-you-can-do-home_.html

 

How many planets does it take to sustain your lifestyle? Ecological Footprint Calculator. (n.d.). Retrieved April 25, 2023, from https://www.footprintcalculator.org/home/en

Not Today Scammer

As more of life and daily task moves online it feels like scams and phishing are increasing. . . because they are! According to the U.S. Chief Information Officers Council scams and phishing attacks have been on the rise for decades by cyber criminals. As consumers, our first line of self-defense is awareness.

As we are looking to increase our awareness online it may be helpful to start with an understanding of what a scam and phishing are.

A scam is an attempt to trick someone, usually to steal money or private information.

Thieves may use this information to cyber bully someone, create false documents such as a driver’s license, buy things with others’ money, or get a loan or a job.

Scammers online don’t have to get money from people directly. Instead, these scammers use a variety of strategies to trick people into giving out their private information. This information can be used to access their bank and credit card accounts or other personal accounts. Scammers can even recreate someone’s identity, producing false documents, such as social security cards or driver’s licenses.

An important step in preventing a scam is to avoid giving out personal information.

What kind of personal information might thieves look for?

  • Full Name
  • Date and place of birth
  • Current and previous addresses
  • Driver’s License Number
  • Passport Number
  • Account Numbers
  • Institutions where accounts are held.
  • Passwords
  • Banking Personal Identification Number
  • Social Security Number

Thieves try and get this information from you by phishing. Phishing is when people send you phony emails, pop-up messages, social media messages, texts, calls, or links to fake websites to hook you into giving out your personal and financial information.

The best way to avoid a phishing scam is to question any online request for personal information. It’s also good to be skeptical about posts or messages from friends online that seem out of character. That can be a warning sign that their accounts have been hacked. There are clues in these phishing messages to look for. For example, they may include:

  • Require you to verify account information.
  • Contain a Sense of Urgency, saying an account will be closed or something drastic happens if you don’t act quickly.
  • Spelling errors
  • A link in the email or attachment encourages you to use that link or attachment to verify the account.
  • Promises or messages that sound Too Good to be true.
  • A Generic Greeting, such as a friend, account holder, or customer.

You can protect yourself from scams and phishing by:

  1. Avoid opening the message in the first place.
  2. Don’t click on any links or download any attachments; they might contain viruses or spyware.
  3. Set your social media accounts to private.
  4. Don’t reply to a message or email. Instead, delete and block.
  5. Mark it as “junk” or “spam” or report it on your social network site.
  6. Take the time to know what a credible website looks like.

If you are concerned about an account you have with a company, contact their customer service directly by phone.

 

Written by: Alisha Barton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Miami County.

Reviewed by:  Amanda Bohlen, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Washington County.

Sources:

4 ways to differentiate a good source from a bad source. UTEP. (n.d.). Retrieved January 20, 2023, from https://www.utep.edu/extendeduniversity/utepconnect/blog/march-2017/4-ways-to-differentiate-a-good-source-from-a-bad-source.html#:~:text=Check%20the%20domain%20name,in%20an%20attempt%20to%20mislead.

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month : Phishing attacks. National Cybersecurity Awareness Month : Phishing Attacks | CIO.GOV. (n.d.). Retrieved January 20, 2023, from https://www.cio.gov/2021-10-12-National-Cybersecurity-Awareness-Month-Phishing-Attacks/

What are some common types of scams? Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. (n.d.). Retrieved January 20, 2023, from https://www.consumerfinance.gov/ask-cfpb/what-are-some-common-types-of-scams-en-2092/

Enjoy Fall with All Your Senses

Fall is a beautiful time of year to get out and enjoy all the sights, colors, and sounds of nature. All of this can be a treat for our senses. Connecting to your senses can be a simple way to reduce stress. Tapping into all five senses can immediately provide calming and healing powers.  Incorporate one of these sensory experiences into your day and enjoy finding something new about fall to love:

people walking in woods

Vision:

Have a scavenger hunt: look for items found in the woods or at a park, in your neighborhood, or stay in your own backyard.

Create some art: make a nature rubbing with paper and crayons. Collect interesting items such as bark or leaves and place them under the paper and rub them on top with a crayon.  Consider placing interesting leaves in a bowl or vase and enjoying for the season or arranging them in a frame.

Smell:

Pay attention to the new smells that come with the season. Bring your attention to the grass, flowers, and air of fall. Notice the difference between a sunny and rainy day and talk about these with your children or grandchildren noting the differences they perceive.

Taste:

Fall offers a variety of new taste experiences, including pumpkin, cinnamon, and more. Pay attention to how these seasonal flavors make you feel.

Touch:

Fall can provide new and exciting textures to explore. Grasses have different and new textures as the season changes. Acorns, leaves, bark, moss, pinecones, feathers, and more can all have interesting textures to explore.

Sound:

Crunching leaves, new bird sounds, and others can contribute to the exciting sounds of fall. Take some time to simply sit and observe the unique sounds of the season.

Try taking a sensory walk incorporating all these senses and enjoy the multi-sensory benefits of fall. Using all our senses to explore a new season can greatly enhance the experience of fall and provide fall memories that last!

Written by: Alisha Barton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Miami County.

Reviewed by: Dan Remley, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition and Wellness, Ohio State University Extension.

Resources:

Globokar, L. (2020, November 27). Learn how reconnecting with your senses helps you to manage stress. Forbes. Retrieved September 29, 2022, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/lidijaglobokar/2020/11/30/learn-how-reconnecting-with-your-senses-helps-you-to-manage-stress/?sh=32696bec1544

Whitney-Coulter, A. (2022, January 26). Use your five senses to connect with nature. Mindful. Retrieved September 29, 2022, from https://www.mindful.org/sense-the-benefits-of-nature/

Diving into Plant-Based Meat Alternatives

Meat substitutes, such as tofu or soy protein, have existed since the 1960s and often resemble the meat they are replacing. However, plant-based meat alternatives have become more common on your grocery store shelves and often do not resemble meat. As they are more widely available, you might be curious about adding them to your menu rotation. Here are a few suggestions for trying a meat substitute:

Consider making your own. Often these plant-based “meats” are made of familiar ingredients such as cauliflower, beans, mushrooms, or tofu. You can make your dishes meatless by substituting things like chicken for chickpeas. Or you can try making your meatless burger by combining vegetables you enjoy with black beans and rice.  This lentil burger from Celebrate Your Plate is easy and full of simple ingredients.

Read the labels on meatless products carefully. Meatless products are often higher in fiber, calcium, and iron compared to traditional meat. Some of these products may also be hiding more sodium than regular meat. Also, some meat alternatives are prepared with coconut oil, which is higher in saturated fat. When looking at the label you will need to consider your personal health goals. Whatever your nutritional goal maybe, be an informed consumer and check the label.

Trying a variety of brands and products may help you find a meat substitute you enjoy. Brands will have different tastes and textures.

Don’t forget other meatless options. Foods such as eggs, lentils, beans, tofu, nut butters, cottage cheese, edamame, noodles made from legume flour, and some mushrooms can also be a good substitute in dishes for meat.

Start with recipes you like and consider small swaps. Try lentils instead of meat in your favorite chili.  A meatless crumble that resembles the look and feel of ground beef could be used in a taco recipe. Trying a new substitute for a familiar food may help make the transition to meatless alternatives easier.

Written by: Alisha Barton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Miami County. Barton.345@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Amanda Bennett, Agriculture and Natural Resources Educator, Ohio State University Miami County. Bennet.709@osu.edu

Sources:

Curtain, F., & Amp; Grafenauer, S. (2019, October 30). Plant-based meat substitutes in the Flexitarian age: An audit of products on supermarket shelves. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved April 27, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6893642/

Is meatless meat worth a try?  (2022). Strive, Spring 2022, 4.

Lentil burgers. Celebrate your plate.  Retrieved April 27, 2022, from https://celebrateyourplate.org/recipes/lentil-burgers

The Most Important Promise You Will Make

I have lost track of how many diets I’ve started. How many Mondays were going to be a “new start”. How many “cheat meals” I’ve indulged in, or the number of times I’ve promised myself that I would make it to the gym and then didn’t.  Infinity.  Inner talk like this has been a habit of mine for several years.  I think and talk about goals I’ve set and new routines I want to try but then when it comes to doing it. . . . You know the story.

Silhouette of businessman holding target board on the top of mountain with over blue sky and sunlight. It is symbol of leadership successful achievement with goal and objective target.

Let’s all take a minute and admit; self-improvement is hard.  Say it out loud if you want because it’s true and it deserves to be acknowledged.

Often, we go out of our way to keep a promise that we made to a friend or family member, but we think nothing of breaking a promise we’ve made to ourselves.  Promises we make to ourselves are just as important as the promises we make to others.  Forbes referred to these in 2020 as “the most important promise you’ll make.”

With the new year starting did you make a promise to yourself? Was it to exercise or walk more? Maybe your promise was to eat more fruits and vegetables?  Are you trying to reduce the sugar you consume each day? Whatever that promise was that you made to yourself- we want to help you keep it!!

Here are a few strategies to help you reach your goal successfully:

Don’t just talk about your goal, plan HOW you can meet it. Start with a small goal.  Aim to drink more water every day or add one fruit and veggie to lunch and dinner. It can be easier to add a habit than to take one away. When that goal is conquered, set another. Have a goal that is measurable and specific.  Having steps will help you achieve your goal. Consider telling a friend and inviting them to join you. There can be power in being accountable to someone and having their support. Having a friend join you in achieving your goal can help you feel motivated while being consistent.

2022 Goal, Plan, Action checklist text on note pad with laptop, glasses and pen.

Be honest with yourself as you go through this process. Be honest about what your actions are and how they relate to your goal. Are the little things you are doing every day supporting your goal steps? Examine your time and abilities. Be realistic and set yourself up for success instead of failure.

Lastly, be positive.  We can be so hard on ourselves when we miss a step or take a small detour. Recognize a failure or a setback as an opportunity to learn. Take that lesson and move on, don’t throw your goal away because of a mistake or bump in the road. It might not hurt to forget that self-improvement is a lifelong journey. I love the quote by Thich Nhat Hanh reminding me “Yesterday is already gone. Tomorrow is not yet here. Today is the only day available to us; it is the most important day of our lives.”  Work on that promise to yourself today.

Written by: Alisha Barton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Miami County.

Reviewed by:  Lisa Barlage, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Ross County.

Sources:

57 thich Nhat Hanh quotes on mindfulness (to live a more meaningful life). Develop Good Habits. (2020, November 17). Retrieved January 26, 2022, from https://www.developgoodhabits.com/thich-nhat-hanh-quotes/

Blaschka, A. (2020, December 14). How to keep the most important promise you’ll make. Forbes. Retrieved January 26, 2022, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/amyblaschka/2020/12/15/how-to-keep-the-most-important-promise-youll-make/?sh=66a64964127c

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, April 23). 3 reasons to work out with a friend. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved January 26, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/library/spotlights/workout-buddy.html

Jantz, G. L. (2016, May 16). The power of positive self-talk | psychology Today. Retrieved January 26, 2022, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hope-relationships/201605/the-power-positive-self-talk

Treber, M. (2014, January 17). Set a wellness goal for the New Year. Live Healthy Live Well. Retrieved January 26, 2022, from https://livehealthyosu.com/2013/01/07/set-a-wellness-goal-for-2013-4/

Have a little fun. . . Play with your food!

This fall I want to encourage you to do something you may have been scolded for at the dinner table as a youth; play with your food! Don’t worry, playing with your food as an adult won’t look the same.  We can sometimes get stuck in a rut when it comes to our food choices or find ourselves on autopilot eating the same foods or using the same recipes over and over. We want to remind you; it is possible to have fun with food even as an adult!  Just adding a few new twists can have you exploring new foods and having fun. May we suggest:

Play with a Cuisine: build some play into the types of cuisines you are trying. Start with creating a list of foods you enjoy or that sound interesting to you. Do you have a curry dish that you love from a local Indian restaurant? Look up a similar recipe online and try it at home. Been wanting to try a new cuisine? Ask around or look online for a restaurant that offers what you’re wanting to try. Adding new cuisines to your food routine can be a great way to include new flavors and textures, and those are NEVER boring!

Play with a Group: Food can be fun to enjoy at parties, or with friends and family. Food is often tied to great memories, family traditions, and other meaningful experiences. Invite a new group of people to join you to play with your food by trying a new restaurant or invite them over to enjoy a meal in your space. Connecting food to meaningful experiences and making new friends is an enjoyable way to play with your food. . . and make a new connection!

Play with a Seasonal Food: Using seasonal food is a great way to save money and try foods when they are showing off at the peak of their freshness.  This list can be a great way to help you know what is in season. Try playing with fresh fruits and vegetables in your favorite season.  Wander the produce section of the grocery store and make a point of picking out something you’ve never tried.  Finding a new food you love will pay off in a fun way for a long time.

Play with a Style: There are so many ways to prepare foods. If you’ve passed on food before, consider trying it again in a new way. Not a fan of steamed squash? Try it roasted in the oven with some fresh herbs. Didn’t love a cut of meat at first taste? Try it in a soup, stew, curry, or pasta dish. You could even play with a new cooking method or technique. 

Now that you are inspired to PLAY with new foods, techniques, and cuisines, we hope you find something new that you love!!

Resources:

Healthy Cooking Techniques: Boost flavor and cut calories. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/healthy-cooking/art-20049346

Seasonal Produce Guide. https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/seasonal-produce-guide

Written by: Alisha Barton, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County  barton.345@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County, carter.413@osu.edu

Happy 10th Birthday to Your Plate!

This year MyPlate turns 10! This important birthday marks ten years of guidance on building a healthy routine. In our family, we have a tradition where we share birth and baby stories with our birthday children. So, in that spirit, let’s look back at the “birth” story of MyPlate.

You may remember a food pyramid or food groups from your school health days.  The first food recommendation came out in 1894 through a Farmer’s Bulletin. These first guidelines focused on diets for males. In 1916, a nutritionist, Caroline Hunt, wrote a USDA food guide and included recommendations for young children. These recommendations were put into five food groups.

Changes were made to these guidelines throughout the years to reflect changes in society. For example, during the Depression, guidelines were broken into income levels to help people shop for food. Recommendations were made during wartime to accommodate limited supplies and rationing that was common in the United States.

The 1950’s brought us the format of the “Basic Four” food groups. This model was used for 20 years and might sound familiar to some of your first lessons on food and nutrition. The five groups were meat, milk, fruits and vegetables, and grain products.

Research surrounding food began to shift its focus from obtaining enough nutrients, like with the Basic Four model, to encourage consumers to avoid overconsumption of foods that contribute to chronic disease. Enter the Food Guide Pyramid in 1992. The pyramid underwent a change in 2005 that included physical activity and added oils at the very top as a food group.

MyPlate was introduced in 2011 as a portioned plate. The plate is a visual reminder of incorporating all five food groups into daily food choices while encouraging personalized choices.

With MyPlate, Americans find practical ways to incorporate dietary guidelines in their daily food choices. MyPlate emphasizes five food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy. This variety is recommended to build strong bodies and minds. MyPlate encourages “the benefits of healthy eating add up over time, bite by bite. Small changes matter.”

To help MyPlate celebrate their birthday you may consider:

Get a personalized plan at MyPlate.

Set a small goal for yourself. Try adding a new vegetable or incorporating fruit every morning.

Download and print a MyPlate template and hang it somewhere as a reminder.

For more ideas check out the birthday celebration website for links to the app and other activities.

However, you choose to celebrate MyPlate, have fun doing it! From all of us at Live Healthy Live Well; Happy Birthday MyPlate!!

 

Sources:

Evolution of USDA Food Guides to Today’s MyPlate. Riley Children’s Health. https://www.rileychildrens.org/connections/evolution-of-usda-food-guides-to-todays-myplate#:~:text=The%20USDA%20introduced%20today’s%20MyPlate,encourage%20personalization%20of%20food%20choices.

MyPlate 10th Birthday. MyPlate. https://www.myplate.gov/birthday.

What is MyPlate? MyPlate. https://www.myplate.gov/eat-healthy/what-is-myplate.

 

 

Written by: Alisha Barton, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County

barton.345@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Shelby Larck, Extension Program Assistant, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County

Larck.1@osu.edu

Figuring Out Your Fridge

I love walking into the grocery store into the produce section! The colors and textures of the fruits and vegetables are bright and beautiful. Seeing my fridge at home packed with a bright selection of fresh produce is fun too if I have a plan to use them all.

One-third of the world’s food is wasted. Approximately 40 to 50 percent of food waste happens at the consumer level. In the US, the average person wastes 238 pounds of food per year or about 21% of the food they buy. This costs consumers $1,800 per year. Fresh fruits and vegetables account for the largest of these losses.

Reevaluating your fridge can help not only the environment but your wallet as well. Consider these tips to help optimize your fridge and fresh food storage:

Prep: I often find a member of my household staring at the open fridge then uttering the famous words “there’s nothing to eat.” Doing a few minutes of prep work after grocery shopping can save time later and ensure your fresh produce gets used. Cut carrots, broccoli, celery, and other vegetables. You will be grateful this is done when you are reaching for a snack. Having these prepped also makes them a quick option to add to meals. Finally, unused fruits and vegetables that are already prepped can be added to a freezer-safe container and frozen before they spoil.

Clean: Set aside time each week to clean and take an inventory of your fridge and freezer. This task can be done in 30 minutes. Take time to throw away expired food and leftovers while wiping spills and cleaning surfaces. As the food is returned to the fridge take stock of what needs to be used and plan. Use this cleaning to check the temperature of your fridge and freezer. Your refrigerator should be at or below 40°F. The freezer temperature should be set at 0°F. Checking these temperatures regularly can help ensure your food stays fresh longer.

Glass Jars: Consider using recycled glass or mason jars for food storage. These are great to keep food fresh and are easy to see what is inside. Glass jars are easy to clean and their airtight seal will keep foods fresh. To reuse jars, just wash, remove the label, and they are good to go!

Throw in a Towel: Sounds weird? Wrapping fresh broccoli or cauliflower in a slightly damp towel will keep them crisp. Storing spinach or lettuce in a glass container with a dry towel on top will help them stay crisp and fresh.

Don’t Over shop: Try not to over shop.  You may get excited about a good deal, but if you don’t have a plan to use a large amount of something on sale that good deal may become food waste. Try to keep in mind how much of an item that you will use and avoid buying more than you need. Cleaning and taking regular stock of what is in your fridge will help avoid overbuying.

You know your fridge and your habits more than anyone else. Consider your habits and the foods you enjoy while you figure out a system that works for you. If you are storing food safely there is no right way to stock and maintain your fridge.

View Looking Out From Inside Of Refrigerator As Woman Opens Door And Unpacks Shopping Bag Of Food

Writer: Alisha Barton, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County, barton.345@osu.edu

Reviewer:  Dan Remley, Field Specialist, Food, Nutrition, and Wellness, Ohio State University Extension

Resources:

Are You Storing Food Safely? (2021) U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/are-you-storing-food-safely

Food Waste Is a Massive Problem-Here’s Why. (2021) FoodPrint.

Safe and Happy Holidays

I was surprised to learn a few weeks ago that I was putting my family at risk with a simple decision I was making; leaving my tree lights on.  Holiday decorations can increase the chance of fire in your home if not done safely. According to the National Fire Protection Association, tree fires during the holidays are more likely to be serious. Lighting on trees is involved in more than two of every five home fires Christmas trees. There are a few simple things you can do to keep your home safe and enjoy all your holiday decorations.

Inspect your lights before hanging. Throw away any lights with cracked strands, excessive kicking, or frayed cords. If your lights are warm to the touch throw them out!

Hang your lights with clips, avoid using nails. Never use your electric lights on a metal tree.

Do not overload your electrical sockets. Plan to limit your lights to 50 screw-in bulbs or no more than three strands.

Pay attention to where you place your extension cords. Avoid running them under carpets, heaters, or high traffic areas.  Running cords across doorways may cause a tripping hazard, be mindful to place them in places where they will not be tripped over.

Make sure your decorations are nonflammable and place them away from lights or heater vents. Consider vents and fireplaces when choosing a place for your tree.

When enjoying your holiday candles, place them out of reach of children and pets.  Fifty-seven percent of December home decoration fires were started by candles, compared to 32 percent in January through November.

Ensure your candles burn safely by removing burnable materials from around them and never leave them unattended.

Always keep your live tree watered, using water only! Cutting the bottom two inches off the trunk before setting it up will help improve water absorption.

Unplug your lights before going to bed or leaving your house.

For more holiday safety tips see the resources below. We hope you have a happy and safe holiday!

Writer: Alisha Barton, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County, barton.345@osu.edu

Reviewer:  Lorrissa Dunfee , Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Belmont County, dunfee.54@osu.edu

Resources:

ESFI Holiday Decorating Safety. (2015).  Electrical Safety Foundation International https://www.esfi.org/resource/holiday-decorating-safety-342

Holiday Decorations Safety Tips. (n.d.). U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission https://cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/611.pdf

McKelvey, S. (2019, December 13). The Holiday Season Presents Increased Fire Risks Due to Multiple Factors. Retrieved December 14, 2020, from https://www.nfpa.org/News-and-Research/Publications-and-media/Blogs-Landing-Page/NFPA-Today/Blog-Posts/2019/12/13/the-holiday-season-presents-increased-fire-risks-due-to-multiple-factors