More Australian households every year are putting on a magical show of lights to celebrate the Christmas season.

But the festive festoons are not without risk. Christmas lights, like any electrical project, need care and consideration to ensure you and your family stay safe this season.

Take a moment to think about how safe your decorations are this year. Don't be the next Clark W. Griswold, the ill-fated star of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation whose seasonal decorating didn't quite go to plan.

Australian electricity provider Essential Energy has published a handy checklist.

Here are the top tips:

  • Before starting to put up lights, all lights and wires from last year should be checked for signs of wear and tear.
  • Avoid using light sets that have missing globes. This will prevent any other item that could conduct electricity coming into contact with the live socket.
  • Read instructions carefully and only buy products that meet Australian safety standards.
  • Keep lights away from tinsel and flammable materials, such as soft furnishings. If lights are too close to tinsel, the heat could start a fire.
  • Do not overcrowd power points or “piggy back” double-adaptor plugs. Keep power boards and adaptors away from children and do not string lights near overhead power lines. Be aware of the location of overhead power lines when carrying ladders and decorations.
  • Pay attention to whether lights are intended for external or internal use.
  • Wear safety gear and non-slip shoes while climbing ladders or working on the roof.
  • Place extension cords in low-traffic areas where they won’t be a trip hazard or become damaged.
  • Switch off the power before plugging in or pulling out the plug. Hold the plug, not the cord.
  • Keep power boards and adaptors to a minimum and out of reach of children.
  • Check you have a safety switch in your meter box. If not, seek a a qualified electrician to install one.

See the full do-and-don’t list at the Essential Energy website.