December arrives and in the run up to Xmas, one of the traditional festive items that should first get looked at are the Christmas lights! The temptation often is to just reuse the lights you first bought back in the day, even though many of the individual bulbs no longer work, the connections corroded and wiring exposed!We hardly need reminding of the inevitable news headlines! Faulty Xmas lights are a regular cause of electrical accidents leading to serious house fires and fatality every Xmas. Yet the causes can be various. Not only is there a dangerous risk involved in attempting to use worn and unsafe looking lighting sets, but too often cheap, so-called 'value' lights purchased from discount stores can be suspect.The first action to take with previously used lights - even if they were only bought as new last Xmas - is to look carefully at the overall condition of the cabling, checking for splits and exposed bare wires. This includes the connections to the powerplug. There should be no exposed wiring or cable looseness.Look inside the powerplug itself to test for any loose screw connections, and check to ensure the correct rated fuses are in place and secondly, if they work, ideally, with a circuit tester or in another appliance. When a fuse blows, an entire ring circuit can be knocked out and cause a potential problem with other appliances or the circuit wiring itself.Next check individual bulbs to ensure they are not loose in their sockets, fallen out completely or a bulb wire bent to the side and therefore, isn't making contact.If deciding to purchase a new lighting set, do check to see it is has been assessed for applicable safety standards compliance. This means looking for the CE marking (which represents the manufacturer's declaration that the product is safe).Watch out for potential problem markings such as :