One of the most time-honored traditions for most families is decorating their home for the holidays. Whether you prefer simple, more traditional decor or like to put on an entire outdoor show, here are some keys to preparing your home for the holidays.

  1. Clean it up and clear it out

When you are getting ready to decorate your home, that can be a great time to do a final fail cleaning before winter sets in. If you are taking the time to decorate your home, you want it to look warm, festive and inviting. Not only can excess exterior debris create a number of different hazards, but they keep your home from looking neat, tidy and inviting. So before you start hanging lights or trimming the trees, take some time to tidy up and declutter.

  1. Check your power

Depending on just how many lights or decorations you want to put out, it’s always a good idea to make sure your home electrical system has the power you need to do it all. This is also a great time to ensure your electrical system is up-to-code and possibly do some updates, like a whole-house surge protector. No matter how many or how few extra lights you put up, they can still take a toll on older electrical systems. If you really plan on pulling out all the stops, you might want to have an electrician install an extra circuit just for your winter wonderland.

  1. Use LED lights

Not only is outdoor LED lighting safer than traditional holiday lights, but it also uses significantly less energy. In addition, LED lights are more versatile and allow you to use the same lights to create a number of different looks. The same LED lights can be set to glow purple for Halloween, orange for Thanksgiving and red, green, blue, white or multi-colored for Christmas. LED lights remain cool rather than heating up like traditional holiday lights, which means they pose no threat to catching something on fire, like dead leaves or debris.

  1. Use a timer or a smart outlet

Even with LED lights, your electric bill can skyrocket over the holidays. If you put your lights on a timer, you can be sure everyone can enjoy your hard work even if you are not home and you can also be sure your lights will go off automatically when it is time for everyone to go home. You can also use a smart outlet connected to a smart hub so if you want to shut your lights off early, you can either ask your digital assistant to do it or control them from wherever you are with your smart phone.