Celebrate a Socially Distanced Christmas with Fireworks
Christmas just isn’t going to be the same this year. Many people are staying home and limiting large family gatherings to stop the spread of COVID-19, so you may have to celebrate with your nearest and dearest over Zoom. But if your loved ones are close by and you have the space, putting on a personal fireworks show can be a good way to celebrate a socially distanced Christmas, out in the fresh air, and make memories that will last a lifetime.
You may not think of Christmas as a “fireworks holiday,” but in many South American countries and even in some U.S. states, fireworks displays are a Christmas tradition. And if you live in one of those states, like Louisiana, where fireworks are a cherished Christmas tradition, you may want to make up for canceled public fireworks shows or just avoid the crowds. Here’s how to make fireworks a part of your Christmas celebration.
Know Your Rights
Are fireworks legal in your state? Some states ban fireworks altogether, while others only permit certain types of pyrotechnics to consumers. At least one state bans fireworks of any kind, while others allow only non-aerial and non-explosive pyrotechnics for consumer sale. Since there may not be any big fireworks sale tents in the snow-covered parking lot of your local big-box store at this time of year, you’ll have to buy your fireworks online. Make sure the fireworks you buy are legal in your state. You could face a big fine and even jail time for lighting off illegal fireworks in some states.
There’s a reason why many types of fireworks are illegal in many states, and the reason is that they’re dangerous. Burns and other serious injuries are a real possibility.
When you’re lighting fireworks, wear appropriate clothing — long, sturdy jeans and a long-sleeved cotton sweatshirt; close-toed shoes, preferably boots; safety goggles; gloves; and a hardhat or, in a pinch, a regular hat that covers the back of the neck.
Always make sure lit fireworks can’t fall over and shoot flames at people standing nearby. Don’t hold lit fireworks in your hands, and keep an eye on lit fireworks. Always be sober when lighting fireworks, keep water, fire extinguishers, and first aid burns close to hand.
Clear the Line of Fire
When setting off fireworks at home, make sure you have a clear line of fire free of trees, utility lines, and buildings, such as your garage or your neighbor’s house. Make sure there’s room for everyone to stay back at a safe distance, especially if you’re lighting aerial fireworks — your spectators should be one-and-a-half times as far from the firing line as the altitude of the highest firework you’re launching. So, if your highest pyrotechnic goes up to 120 feet, your family needs to be 180 feet away from you when you’re lighting it. Place your family upwind, so they don’t get littered with hot firework debris. You can light most fireworks in the rain — you can protect them from moisture with a foil cover, and you don’t even have to take it off before you light the firework. But avoid lighting fireworks if it’s windy since that can affect their flight path and put nearby structures, people, animals, and vegetation at risk.
Send a Signal for Santa
This year, many kids are understandably concerned that Santa won’t be able to visit because of the pandemic. Of course, we know that Santa is a magic elf, and therefore can’t get COVID-19. Make this year special for the kids by lighting off fireworks on Christmas Eve to signal that you’re ready and waiting for Santa to visit your home.
Fortunately, it gets dark pretty early in December, so you don’t need to risk noise complaints or annoying your neighbors (too much) by lighting small explosives at 10:00 p.m. Start your backyard fireworks show as soon as it gets fully dark.
Who doesn’t love a good fireworks show? A few fireworks can make this Christmas memorable and give you something to do outside with loved ones. Just make sure you follow common safety rules and avoid lighting any pyrotechnics banned in your state.