Sustainable DB Tree

Rewiring gives this old ceramic tree new life.

Steve Jasiecki

The holiday season is upon us, and with it comes the customary holiday traditions and decorations. Traditions are meaningful and can be fun, especially for children. They define who we are, link us to our past and honor those who have come before us. When we bring out our seasonal items, light the menorah or the Christmas tree, we are passing on our values to our children.

As we get ready for this holiday season, we prepare our houses by bringing out the holiday decorations, some new and some old. The excitement ramps up as we set up the old electric train set or that ceramic Christmas tree someone made as a gift. It’s part of what makes the holiday season so special.

Holiday decorating is a tradition that goes back for many generations. However, before we plug anything in, before we turn on any switches, it would be wise to evaluate the condition of these heirlooms. Items stored in attics are exposed to extreme temperatures of hot and cold. Heat breaks down the insulation in wires, and moisture corrodes electrical contacts. Wires can become brittle, and batteries left in any devices can leak, leaving white corrosive dust.

A good cleaning fixes lots of problems, but you may find some things need greater attention. Check the wiring of all cords, looking for wear and tear. Make sure electrical contacts are free of corrosion. You may find you need to have that old lamp rewired or that old light-up figurine tightened up. Any batteries left in items that appear to be OK probably aren’t; put in fresh batteries. Remember to remove any batteries when you put these things away for next year. You may love that old figurine passed down from your grandmother, but time takes its toll.

Don’t leave anything to chance. Play it safe, inspect. You can repurpose or rebuild those favorite items and still continue to pass them along.

Traditions are important; they bring family and friends together, they bring back old memories and create new ones. However, your health and safety is even more important.

Have a safe and wonderful holiday. Shalom, peace.

Sustainable Downbeach is working toward creating a healthier, friendlier community with an eye on protecting the environment. For information or to get involved see Sustainable Downbeach on Facebook.

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