The holidays go hand-in-hand with beautiful lighting. Whether it’s from candles, tree lights, or cozy fires, there’s plenty of mood lighting to enjoy. But who says homeowners get to have all the fun? If you’re a renter, there are plenty of ways to safely prep your space for the holidays.

Here are 3 simple (but festive) alternatives to traditional holiday decorations that’ll keep you on your landlord’s nice list when you deck your halls.

1. Flameless candles

According to the National Fire Protection Association, candles are responsible for about 3 percent of reported home fires. On average, 25 home candle fires are reported daily, and, not surprisingly, candle fires peak in December. But you don’t have to miss out on the warm glow of a candle. Today’s flameless alternatives are remarkably lifelike and many even offer a “flicker” appearance, just like the real deal.

2. Fake a fireplace

The holiday season is synonymous with a cozy fire. If your rental has a fireplace (lucky you!), talk to your landlord about how to safely use it. And remember that fireplace accidents often happen when the fireplace hasn’t been adequately cleaned, so double-check with your landlord about when it was last serviced. And if it’s not safe to use, don’t fret. Instead, try staging several different-sized flameless candles in it for a stylish alternative.

As for your stockings, make sure to hang them with care that is, not in front of an open fire because the material could get too hot and catch fire.

3. The best tree for you

Some rentals permit live trees and some require artificial ones instead. Read your lease thoroughly to ensure you know what’s permitted in your place.

If you’re allowed to set up a live tree, follow these precautions to help avoid a fire hazard.

  • Get the freshest tree you can find. Needles shouldn’t fall off when you brush the branches.
  • Make sure your lights are safe: no frayed cords or broken bulbs. And don’t overload the outlets. Electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in an estimated 40 percent of home Christmas tree fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association, so use a surge protector and always turn off your lights when they’re unattended.
  • Water the tree as often as needed (which may be daily in some places) to ensure the water level covers the base of the trunk.
  • Keep the tree away from heating vents, space heaters, fireplaces, candles, and any other open flame or heat sources.

Safe and smart | Home safety


about Cathie

Cathie Ericson writes about personal finance, real estate, health, lifestyle, and business topics. When she's not writing she loves to read, hike, and run. Find her @CathieEricson.