The 12 (Safe) Ways of Christmas

Dec. 13, 2018

A woman hugging a girl while sitting on a couch

Forget partridges and lords a-leaping. No matter what holiday you celebrate this time of year, you can give your loved ones the gift of safety. It’s not something you can wrap up in a bow, but if you follow these 12 safety tips, you can avoid common situations that could ruin the holidays for you and your family.

  1. Going out of town for the holidays? Have your mail held at the post office, ask a neighbor to check on your home, and don’t display gifts where they can be seen from the outside.
  2. Posting all that holiday cheer on social media is fun, but wait until you get home from your holiday vacation to brag about it online. Criminals often find their next theft targets online.
  3. Be careful when shopping. If at all possible, use checks or credit/debit cards instead of cash. If you must use cash, try to take only as much money as you plan to spend, and stay aware of your surroundings.
  4. Park in a well-lit area, and put all purchases in your trunk or under a blanket on the car floor. Wait until the end of your shopping trip to purchase expensive items, so that you don’t leave them unattended in your car. And always remember to lock your car!
  5. Shopping online? Try to schedule deliveries for when you’re home. Failing that, arrange to have them delivered to a neighbor so you can pick them up later.
  6. Protect against identity theft, which online shopping can make you vulnerable to. Monitor your credit report regularly, change passwords frequently, and immediately shut down compromised accounts.
  7. Keep your receipts—if anything gets stolen, they can help you recover it or file an insurance claim. If the receipt shows a full credit card number, scribble it out.
  8. If your purchases come with product registration forms, fill them out and mail them in as soon as you can.
  9. No matter what you’re making for the holiday meal, you can prevent fires by taking basic cooking safety measures, such as keeping an eye on stovetop pans and keeping flammable objects at least three feet away from heat sources.
  10. Friends and family are often huddled inside and using heating during winter holidays, which can present the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure you have working CO alarms before your guests arrive.
  11. If you’re not hosting for the holidays, perhaps you’re driving to see friends or family. That’s when inclement weather can strike, so be sure that both you and your car are prepared for the ice and snow.
  12. Don’t wait until the festivities are over to figure out how to get home safely. If you plan to drink while away from home, be sure to make plans for a sober ride. The alternative is a DWI or, worse, a crash that could hurt or kill your or an innocent person.

So if pipers piping and geese a-laying aren’t your idea of a good time, don’t worry: Practicing these 12 safety tips will make for a much safer – and therefore fun – holiday season.