As the famous song goes, ’tis the season to be jolly!
But it’s a fact that at this time of year our threat levels increase - whether it be from risks of accidents due to plummeting temperatures, sockets filled with twinkling lights overheating or stairwells crammed with gifts. Here’s some tips to make sure you and your home are safe and secure this Christmas so you can concentrate on having fun:
1. Don’t overload sockets: Transforming your home into a magical winter wonderland with hundreds of twinkling fairy lights, candles and festive decorations is one of the highlights of the festive season. But make sure you don’t underestimate the devastating damage these festive favourites can cause. It can take less than a minute for decorations to go up in flames - a statistic fire services across the UK are sadly familiar with every Christmas season. Take simple steps to make sure your beautiful displays don’t end in devastation - never overload plug sockets and extension cables with strings of lights, keep flammable decorations away from naked flames and make sure all lights are turned off and candles blown out when you leave the house or go to bed at night.
2. Don’t water the Christmas tree: Water and lights linked to an electric supply are not a happy mix.
3. Don’t tempt the burglars: Burglary rates rise over the Christmas period as opportunist thieves hijack the season to get their hands on your hard earned gifts. Reduce your chances of becoming a burglary victim by making sure you don’t advertise the presents being stored in your home by leaving them on show. There’s not many things as tempting to a thief as a treasure trove of festive goodies left out for the taking.
4. Take late-night shopping trips with friends: With the Christmas season now in full flow, shops are increasing their opening hours to make the most of the last-minute purchases. Late-night shopping can be a huge help for busy mums and workers whose shifts often make it difficult for them to get to the shops before the shutters come down. But, shopping into the late hours can leave some feeling vulnerable. If possible, try to go late-night shopping with a friend or relative so you aren’t an easy target for thieves as you walk back to your car alone under the weight of Christmas presents. Make sure you tell people where you are and what time you’re due back.
5. Wear practical clothing: The bikinis, shorts and sandals have been well and truly demoted to the back of the wardrobe as the summer sunshine (what we saw of it) is replaced by below-zero temperatures and night-time arriving in the afternoon. And now as the winter weather really kicks in make sure you think practical - not fashionable - when it comes to clothing and footwear this winter period. Think wellies, hats, scarves, gloves, wooly coats and body warmers. Stilettos and polished shoes are not going to keep you on your feet if ol’ Jack Frost has been to visit - however good you think they make your outfit look.
6. Stay vigilant at Christmas parties: Christmas parties are all about letting your hair down and having fun - but, with the alcohol on tap and spirits at a festive high, there’s potential hazards at every turn. Keep your wits about you by making preparations to get home and sticking with friends. (see our full Christmas party tips list separately)
7. Plan car journeys in advance: Make sure to plan ahead when taking car journeys. Keep supplies of water, food and blankets in your car in case of a breakdown so you never find yourself dehydrated, hungry or cold whilst you wait for your knight in the form of a shining recovery truck to arrive.
8. It’s better to be late than never: We’ve all been there - work starts in 10 minutes and the journey there takes nine-and-a-half minutes. You know this because you’ve calculated it precisely to the second to give yourself maximum time in bed before the working day starts. Sadly, all carefully made calculations go straight out of the window when the winter weather hits. It takes longer to get dressed with three added layers, the run to the car is replaced by a slow, tentative tip toe to avoid falling and when you get there you find it is completely frozen. The clock’s ticking and the thought’s crossing your mind to create a mini peep hole on the windscreen to see through the ice and snow. Don’t do it! It’s better to be a few minutes late but at least be safe. Thoroughly de-ice your car before setting off - and just remember to start out a few minutes earlier in future.
9. De-clutter when you can: When it comes to Christmas Day itself the home can quickly become a zone filled with hazards. Wrapping paper has been ripped to shreds and strewn over the floor and where there was once floor there is now a sea of toys and gifts. Make sure to keep areas of the home clutter-free to avoid trips and falls, especially the staircase, which can be particularly dangerous. Nobody wants to spend Christmas in A&E with a broken bone.
10. Keep your wits about you in the kitchen: Everyone knows the kitchen is the heart of the home at Christmas. No Christmas would be truly complete without the smell of turkey, fresh veg and festive pudding wafting through the house - but don’t forget that this magical hub of tasty treats is also filled with hazards. Pots bubbling with boiling water, a hot oven and the gas stove on the go to name a few - there’s plenty of accidents waiting to happen if you’re not careful.