10 Tips for Keeping Your Home and Family Safe During the Holidays
We all love the Christmas holidays for their atmosphere of magic, happiness, and unity with our families. It’s the time of year when both kids and adults sincerely believe that dreams can come true, making New Year’s resolutions and waiting for Santa Claus to visit.
According to a study from the American Christmas Tree Association (ACTA), almost 78% of American families are planning to display a Christmas tree in their homes. This means that thousands of houses will be lit with multicolored seasonal decorations, and our pets might want to attack those shimmering bulbs on the Christmas trees.
We at Bright Side rounded up a selection of protective tricks and pieces of advice that might help you have both a merry and safe Christmas this year.
1. Protect your house from intruders.
According to the FBI, December is the peak month for house robberies. We all remember Home Alone, where many families left their houses for the holidays and 2 burglars planned to rob each of them. Even if you’re not planning to leave for another country, it might be good to think about home security because the whole holiday rush can overwhelm you and make you forget about simple precautions.
- First and foremost, don’t forget to lock your front door, even if you live in a safe neighborhood. Make sure that newly fallen snow is shoveled so burglars won’t think your home is empty.
- Make your home appear occupied at all times. Leave lights on when you go out. Don’t store presents and valuable things on window sills. Don’t display everything you own.
- Some burglars will even look through your trash and see jewelry boxes or other expensive things you’ve bought. To minimize the risk, tear them apart before you take out your trash.
It’s a minimal decoration, but it makes a clear statement. Thieves are not welcome here.
2. Position your Christmas tree wisely.
A Christmas tree is the main focus of attention in every house during the holidays. As the family gathers around it, you should make sure it won’t fall down or bring any other "discomfort" to your guests. The position of the tree plays an important role. Keep the tree away from open fires or other sources of heat.
- Use special tree cradles or stands to mount the tree, and make sure it doesn’t bend. Another great option is to anchor your tree with a bucket filled with rocks and water.
- Some people advise adding water to a tree stand to prevent it from overdrying and to keep the pine needles fresh. Keep in mind that a freshly cut tree absorbs as much as a gallon of water a day.
That’s what we call a well-watered Christmas tree!
3. Set up house decorations properly.
Decorations make every home ready for Christmas and make the holiday season more palpable. Decorating your Christmas tree is a great opportunity to bond with your family, and nothing should cast a shadow over this joyous time.
- Check that all the electric bulbs work properly and that none of them have cracked lamp holders. The whole cord must not have any breakages. Replace broken or damaged toys.
- Place all extension cords close to the walls so that no one trips over and falls. Inspect cords, and make sure there are no damaged sockets that might cause a fire in your house.
Kiddos, I am your Christmas tree!
4. Set up external decorations on your house correctly.
Setting up external decorations on your house is the best way to show everyone how much you enjoy this wonderful time of year. And make your neighbors envious, of course. It’s also important to make sure that these decorations are completely safe for you and your family and those who come to sing a carol.
- Light up a pathway to your house, and keep it clean from snow and ice. The entrance should be safe to approach to prevent slips and falls.
- Be sure to install light bulbs and extension cords rated for outdoor use. Try to place the bulbs away from all materials that ignite easily.
- Be careful when you install lights and decorations, especially up on a roof. Use a safe ladder. Turn off the electricity to the supply outlet before working on wiring.
Need a hand, neighbor? (Don’t worry. It’s a mannequin.)
5. Be mindful when eating during the festive season.
Who doesn’t love a big piece of freshly cooked turkey, crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside? The holiday season is the best time to taste a bit of everything on the table. That means piles of cookies, cakes, Mom’s specials, sweet potatoes, and marshmallows. Americans, on average, gain about one pound during the holiday season due to overeating.
- Eat mindfully. When we arrive at our parents’ house, we often feel like children again and let ourselves eat much more than our bodies need. Try to eat smaller portions of your favorite food.
- Don’t forget about exercises because the holidays are not an excuse to skip your workout routine. Go skiing, or have a snow fight! Do anything that keeps you off the couch.
Brace yourselves! The Christmas dinners are coming!
6. Use fireplaces and candles safely during the holidays.
Happy moments can be spoiled if the fireplace causes a house fire. That’s why it’s very important to take precautions before Christmas Eve and to deal with all issues in advance. According to the NFPA, approximately 230 home fires start with Christmas trees every year. Little safety precautions can go a long way:
- When decorating a fireplace, make sure that decorations like stockings and tree branches are hung at a safe distance from the blazing fire.
- Hire a professional chimney sweep to clean out all the dust and ash and prevent a chimney fire. Install smoke alarms in your house (outside each sleeping area). Buy a fire extinguisher.
- Also, don’t place your Christmas tree or wrapped presents near a fireplace because they are highly combustible.
She told me to make our fireplace safe. I did.
7. Remember pet safety during the holidays.
Sometimes our pets see a Christmas tree as a magical playground that you installed for their pleasure. Cats jump on it trying to chase shimmering lights; dogs bite off pine needles. Not only do you have to protect your tree but your pets as well. Try to work your pet’s energy off outside the house or in another room so that they won’t bother the tree.
- You might want to choose Christmas ornaments that are less attractive for a cat. Less shiny ones can still be beautiful. Or you can put a foil cover around the base of the tree since cats hate walking on it.
- As for dogs, you can protect them by installing a foldable kid’s play yard or a canine exercise pen.
8. Electrical safety comes first.
Just as an unattended fireplace can cause a fire, an electrical safety hazard can spoil the merry mood as well. Make sure that you and your family stay safe for Christmas:
- Don’t overload electrical circuits or extension cords.
- Replace any strings of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Always turn Christmas lights out before leaving home or going to sleep.
- Purchase lights that have a label from a recognized testing organization. Remember to follow the instructions on the labels regarding the installation of lights and cords.
I’m just checking if it’s working.
9. Firework accidents don’t have to happen.
Fireworks are amazingly beautiful and mesmerizing, but careless celebrations can still end in painful injuries. Fireworks cause thousands of burns and eye injuries each year. If you plan to entertain your guests with a firework party, make sure you know the following tips:
- Only adults should light fireworks. Place them far from houses and other people. Direct fireworks away from your family and other spectators.
- Carefully read and follow the instructions on a firework package, and keep open flames away from it.
- If your kids want to hold a sparkler, make sure they’re wearing gloves. Never hold a baby in your arms while you are holding a sparkler.
"So my friends accidentally shot a firework into their box of OTHER fireworks..."
10. Remember cooking safety measures.
Tasty food is as much a part of the holidays as Christmas carols or presents. This year, keep in mind food safety when cooking in the kitchen.
- Plan all your cooking in advance, and make sure that every electrical item in your kitchen works properly. Don’t forget to store the leftovers properly.
- Don’t let anyone eat raw cookie dough if they assist you in the kitchen.
- Don’t leave the stove or oven on when you’re going to sleep. Stay in the kitchen all the time while the cooking is in process.
Bonus: Just in case you need some extra help, bring Macaulay Culkin.
The Christmas holidays are a time for family fun and friendly reunions, and nothing should spoil your cheerful time. Which safety measures do you know that keep your house safe during the holiday season? Share your tips and valuable pieces of advice in the comments. Stay safe this Christmas!