It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays. There’s baking to be done, shopping to do, and family to host.
In the midst of the festive frenzy of the holidays, it’s important to stop and take stock of the safety measures you have in place, and consider what you may have forgotten to take care of.
No one wants the holidays to be ruined by an avoidable accident, so follow these holiday safety tips to ensure everyone has a safe jolly holiday.
Be Aware of Fire Hazards
One of the first safety concerns that come to mind for many during the holidays is all the fire hazards looming about. Many homes have had the furnace humming away for a month or so, and the air is quite dry. Couple the dryness with electrical hazards and trees, and you can imagine how fast a fire can spread.
The following are a few considerations to take to prevent fires during the holiday:
1. Old Christmas Lights
Oh, those beautiful big bulbs are just breathtaking during the holidays. Reminiscent of a Norman Rockwell painting, these bulbs can transport your entire family to Christmases long since past.
But the truth is, these cords and bulbs are outdated, and they aren’t up to safety standards. The glass is extremely breakable, and the wiring may be exposed from years of use.
Don’t give up on the look of ‘ye olde light,’ however, just buy some new battery-operated Christmas lights (or painstakingly scour your old ones for broken glass, and exposed wires).
You can find these gorgeous lights on Amazon. And, by the way, even old small lights can be a fire hazard (especially on a dry tree). So be cautious with your Christmas lights.
2. Christmas Tree Safety
Speaking of a dry Christmas tree…keep it watered, first of all, and you can enjoy your live Christmas tree for quite a long time! My mother-in-law was known to nurture her tree through Valentine’s Day and even Easter. I hear that the tree was decorated with the changing seasons and even started sprouting!
Now, she has a green thumb, and I make no guarantees about the livability of your tree, but the point is, a well-watered tree will not dry out as quickly as a neglected tree.
Along with keeping your tree watered, keep it far from heat sources like fireplaces and heaters. A stray spark from even a candle can set your tree ablaze within minutes.
Which always gets me thinking, how in the world did homes stay standing back when candles were used in place of Christmas lights?
3. Candles and Decor
Setting the ambiance is important in our home during the holidays. The atmosphere must be cozy and festive, and that often means plenty of candles and decor up to wazoo. I’m not kidding, it truly is as if Santa threw up in our home.
Candles should be placed out of reach of children as well as pets. A large livestock guardian dog, who has been invited inside for the holidays, can clumsily knock over your newest candle with a single wag of the tail.
Not to mention, that same beloved guardian may take to chasing the cat, causing all kinds of havoc from falling trees to tripping grannies.
Old decor with old wiring must be inspected and kept away from candles, other heat sources, and pets. Antique decorations may have elements that are dry and should be kept far from straying sparks.
4. Woodstoves and Fireplaces
Lastly, woodstoves and fireplaces must be monitored for safety at all times. Not only for the fire hazard they are but also as a hazard for young children and pets.
Nothing is cozier than a roaring fire during the holidays. But a youngster or pet can accidentally place their hand or paw on the elements, not aware of the danger they cause. Small children can also hurt themselves on stone or brick fireplaces.
Be sure to gate your heat source and protect your children, guests, and pets from burns or injuries.
Protect Your Family and Home
The holidays are a time for love and laughter, but it doesn’t mean it’s time to let your guard down. Here are a few ways you can keep your family safe during the holidays.
1. Theft During the Holidays
T’is the season for giving, and unfortunately also taking. Retail theft rises dramatically during the holidays, which may only concern you if you host a shop on your property, but there is also the other side of theft to consider.
Breaking and entering instances rise during the holidays as well. Thieves know that gifts are kept in homes leading up to the big day which makes holiday theft easy pickings for burglars…think Home Alone without Macaulay Culkin. Not as fun, right?
Participating in neighborhood watch or investing in an anti-theft system can help prevent theft in your home. But even installing simple no trespassing signs, or leaving a security light on can deter potential burglars….not to mention your trustworthy livestock guardian dog (who won’t be knocking over candles this Christmas)
2. Holiday Safety Tips for Pets
When the holidays roll around, things tend to change around the house.
There are new decorations, people coming and going, and your pets aren’t familiar with all the hustle and bustle. And it’s up to you to keep them safe throughout the season.
Here are a few big “problem” areas for indoor pets during the holidays:
- Tinsel – Cats love to play with tinsel, but it is a choking hazard for all pets.
- Cords – Electrical cords may look like chew toys to new puppies (keep out of reach, just like candles)
- Trees – Dogs and cats are used to seeing trees outdoors, so your pup may think it’s a place to piddle and your cat may think it’s just another tree. Train your pets to respect the tree so it doesn’t get knocked over and turn into a fire hazard.
- Decor – Cute decorations can look just like fidos newest BarkBox toy, so set limits right away, keep keepsakes out of reach and take the time to train your pets during the holidays.
A smart pet that knows how to behave the rest of the year may not be used to the routine during the holidays, so keep a close eye on them and keep them safe.
If you can check everything off this holiday safety tips list, it should be easy to settle in with some hot cocoa and enjoy the holidays with your family and furbabies. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about?