Just in the nick of time, Congress tied a red ribbon around the Christmas Safety Act of 2003 and presented it to the President.
Designed to reduce the dangers inherent in holiday revelry, the massive 3,247-page bill dashed through the House and the Senate, a mere 12 days after it was proposed. The President is expected to wrap up the signing during the annual Eggnog Tasting in the Holly Garden.
“The rapid action of my fellow lawmakers shows how highly we think of our constituents” says G. Reed Lawmacher (I., CA), who sponsored the legislation. “The Christmas Safety Act is our gift to the American people.”
Though the new law slid through Congress like a greased sleigh, legal experts have been slow to determine the impact on seasonal joy. In fact, the “Yuletide Assessment Report” won’t be delivered until next week. But it’s already obvious that some of the bill’s provisions are less than jolly.
For example, the Act makes it a federal offense to decorate exterior eaves using a wobbly ladder and an electric staple gun connected to an electrical extension cord. Violators face a minimum three-year jail sentence and a $50,000 fine.
Those who wish to illuminate frosty windows with candles must apply for an “Interior Free-Flickering Flame” permit. Gift wrapping has also come under scrutiny, with a “Sharp Object Use” license required for owners of scissors or tape dispensers equipped with serrated strips. That pointed star topping the Christmas tree falls under the same requirement.
Lobbyists cheered the new regulations. “The average celebrant has no idea how dangerous do-it-yourself holiday festivities can be,” says S.C. Ruge, director of the nonprofit Americans for More Laws. “I only wish support for the provision banning oven use by non-certified home bakers hadn’t fallen flat at the last second.”
Though the intent of the Christmas Safety Act of 2003 is to preserve and protect carousing consumers, some business leaders believe the rules will drastically reduce the merriment level of companies in the lifestyle sector.
“Once Americans realize Congress views these joyful holiday decorating projects as life-threatening, there will be an avalanche of lawsuits,” says the beleaguered former CEO of a well-known homecrafts conglomerate. She adds, “Our goose may be cooked.”