by Omar Fercha, LAT, ATC

The holidays are a magical time of year. Great food, joy, and cheer spread across the world. A World Cup was finally played this time of year for real sports. There are so many things to celebrate this season! All the more reason to prioritize safety during the holidays. What better way to learn this lesson than from America’s favorite family, The Griswolds. Welcome to Surviving Christmas Vacation with Work Right.

“Can I refill your eggnog for you? Get you something to eat? Drive you out in the middle of nowhere, leave you for dead?” 


“We are kicking off our fun, old fashioned family Christmas by heading out into the country in the old front-wheel-drive sleigh to embrace the frosty majesty of the winter landscape and select that most important of Christmas symbols.”

For those of you who still embrace the frosty majesty of the winter landscape to get your tree, there are a few things to consider before embarking on your journey.

Firstly, MAKE SURE you have something to cut down the tree! Not only is extra work to dig out a tree in the frozen tundra (not recommended) but imagine the extra weight that your children will have to endure carrying it out!

Second, dress appropriately. Gloves, boots, socks, warm pants and a coat are key. These will keep muscles warm for the work you’re about to do and help prevent any lacerations from a misplaced saw (if you remembered to bring the saw). Despite what Clark may say, being frozen from the waist down does not have to be part of the experience. For more ergo tips on hunting down the perfect tree check out these tips!


Now that you’ve made it home with your tree, let us help you recognize some hazards which might be overlooked while caring for said tree. 

– Trees are wider than they appear when wrapped. Make sure the space between tree and window is sufficient enough so you don’t blow out windows when you unwind the tree.

– Be sure to shake the tree out before bringing it inside the house to get rid of dead branches, bugs, and you know… squirrels. Preferably, do this in front of the neighbors so they can gaze in awe at the magnificence of the tree you’ve brought home. 

– Keep all dogs and other critters away from the base of the tree (a little tree water ain’t gonna hurt him). Trees need water to stay hydrated and you don’t want it to dry out before Christmas dinner. Just to be safe, keep all cigar smoking uncles away from the tree… we’re looking at you, Uncle Lewis! 

All you have to do now is sit back and relax and try not to strangle family members who have the audacity to think your tree is fake. 

“That’s a honey of a tree, Clark…is it real?” 


If the goal is to have the most festive house of the block, then preparing for the decorating endeavor is crucial. You’d likely prefer to not hang from your gutter after falling off the roof. Although this scenario does allow for a frozen spear of gutter water to shoot over into the neighbors bedroom. What’s more festive than hearing your neighbors argue in utter bewilderment?

“And why is the carpet wet, Todd!? I don’t KNOW, MARGO!”

Some key points to ponder

– Ladder safety IS important. Make sure it’s secured to your house. Don’t forget to double check your ladder extension is locked into place. It’s all fun and games until someone loses three-fourths of a finger. 

– Dress warmly but keep your sleeves out of the way of your staple gun, nail gun, or light clip! 

– Always, always double check the light bulbs AFTER you’ve made sure that extension cords are plugged in. 

Now all you have to worry about is…family. 

“Look at the time! I gotta go to bed. Stil have to brush my teeth, feed the hog, still got homework to do, still go those bills to pay, wash the car… “

Happy Holidays, Everyone! 


About Omar Fercha, LAT, ATC || Omar is a Portland, OR based Athletic Trainer with Work Right NW. He has 10+ years of experience working with youth to Division 1 athletes. Five years ago, he brought that experience to the sidelines of the industrial athlete. In his free time you can find him hiking with his wife, dogs, and toddler.

Be sure to check out our other blogs for further injury prevention education and tips from Work Right NW!