Shopping Checklist

When starting your holiday décor shopping for lighting, decorations or gifts, keep electrical safety in mind by using this checklist.

Ensure lights and extension cords are approved for use in Ontario and are rated for where you’re planning to use them, either indoors or outdoors. Look for the mark of an accredited certification agency – see the complete list at This shows they’ve been tested and meet safety standards.

Before You Shop

  • Examine last year’s decorations for signs of wear and tear.
  • Replace damaged electrical products including cords, lights and decorations with new ones.

Shopping List

A string of Christmas lights


  • Tree lights
  • Lights/decorations
  • Extension cords
  • Power bars
  • Timers
  • Storage bins


  • Lights/decorations
  • Extension cords
  • Portable GFCIs
  • Ladder

Gift Buying

If you decide to buy electronics for someone special on your holiday gift giving list, make sure:

  • Electronic gifts have been purchased from reputable retail outlets.
  • They bear the mark of an accredited certification agency. Visit for a complete list.


  • Watch that children don’t put electrical decorations or cords in their mouths.
  • Keep an eye on pets that may chew or damage electrical cords.
  • Never remove the third-prong from any electrical product – this is a “grounding pin” that works to prevent electric shock in the event of electrical equipment failure.
  • Before turning in for bed and when leaving the house, turn off or unplug holiday lights and electrical decorations.
  • Refer to ESA’s Safety Guide for Installing Holiday Decorations for more safety tips.

Installation Guide

  • No more than three light strings can be safely connected together in most cases. Read manufacturer’s instructions for directions.
  • Avoid overloading circuits with plugs and extension cords as this can create overheating that could result in a fire. Fuses that frequently blow, or circuits that trip often, can be a sign of overloading.
  • Outdoor decorations should be plugged into receptacles protected by a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) – these are designed to cut off the flow of electricity to avoid shock hazards if a ground fault occurs.
  • Look up. Check for overhead powerlines when using a ladder to install lights or decorations on roofs or in trees.