SIDNEY — The Thanksgiving holiday is a pleasant memory for many people. Now thoughts are turning to Christmas and all the joy it brings to families.
For some, the decorating for Christmas began before Thanksgiving as a way to deal with COVID-19 and to bring happy memories to their families.
“The majority of people still buy real tress,” said Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart during his weekly interview. “The favorite real tree is a fir tree.”
Whether it’s a real tree or artificial tree in your home for Christmas, there’s always a danger of a fire starting due to faulty lights or the tree sitting too near a register, heater or fireplace.
“There are a 160 fires a year that are started by a Christmas tree,” he said. “There were 15 injures and three deaths nationwide due to a tree fire.
“One in 52 fires at Christmas are related to trees,” he said. “Some people are adamant about having a real tree and others are adamant about having an artificial tree. Putting up your tree is the highlight of the Christmas season.”
Lenhart said if you’re purchasing or cutting down a real tree this year, the first thing you should do when you bring it home is to cut another 2-3 inches off the trunk before putting it in the tree stand.
“Also make sure you don’t have any critters in the tree. The one delivered to Rockefeller Plaza had an owl in it,” said Lenhart.
Make sure all the lights you place on the tree are working correctly. If they aren’t make a trip to the store to purchase new lights and throw away the old ones.
Make sure your tree is secured and tied down so a pet or child can’t knock it over.
“If you put your Christmas tree in the front window, you may be inviting unwelcome guests (thieves) to your home,” he said. “Never place you large ticket purchases under the tree until it’s time to unwrap them.”
Lenhart said residents need to make sure deliveries are made when someone is at home so a porch thief can’t steal your package. If you’re not going to be home, have the package delivered to a neighbor’s house who is home, a family member or to your workplace if it’s allowed.
“We had some porch thieves a few year ago,” said Lenhart. “Even with a photo of the person, we weren’t able to arrest them.”
If you’re burning candles during the holiday season, make sure someone is always paying attention to it. Be sure to extinguish the flame before going out or going to bed.
Keeping pets safe at Christmas is also important. Don;t geed your dog chocolate as it can cause adverse consequences such as diarrhea or seizures. Poinsettias are also poisonous to pets.
after the presents are opened on Christmas morning, be sure to cut up boxes instead of placing the entire box outside your home to be recycled. If a thief sees a box for a large television, they might target your house and try to steal it.
In 2019, said Lenhart, 26.2 million real Christmas trees were sold. The average price was $78 a tree. the average cost for an artificial tree was $104.
Lenhart said he and his wife went to Piqua Sunday and saw a pleasant sight: three people picking up trash along the streets and roads.
n a negative note, some hog farmers in Darke County have had some unwelcome visitors who put something in the animal’s water and killed the hogs.
“I’ve called my farmer friend and told them to put up no trespassing signs,” said Lenhart. “If they have unwelcome guests, they’ll have the law on their side in dealing with any actions the people might take.”
Lenhart concluded his weekly interview with the news that there’s around 100 inmates at the Shelby County Jail and the COVID-19 virus has remained out of the jail.
The Sidney Daily News conducts a weekly interview to update readers with news from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, 555 Gearhart Road, Sidney.