Ah, the holiday season. It’s a glorious time filled with family dinners, cozy evenings with friends, and gifts galore. Unfortunately, it can also be a time marked by various hazards. Follow these holiday safety tips to keep yourself and those who you love safe and sound this year.

1. Tell a trusted neighbor when you’re traveling.

If you’re traveling to visit family for the holidays, ask a neighbor you can trust to keep an eye on your home. They can even stop by and turn the lights on and off to make it look like someone is home, or park their car in your driveway. As in the classic movie Home Alone, burglars look for empty homes to prey on during the holidays.

2. Don’t leave empty packages outside.

After unboxing a television, tablet, or other expensive item, cut the box up and put the pieces inside a plastic bag before putting it in your recycling box. If you were to simply set an empty TV box out by the street, a burglar might see it and later break into your home to steal it.

3. Have expensive packages delivered to a package locker.

Package theft is becoming a huge issue, especially during the holidays when package thieves know there are bound to be expensive gifts inside some of those boxes. You don’t want to arrive home to find that your $400 Kitchen Aid mixer was delivered but pilfered by the neighborhood crook. If you order anything expensive online, arrange to have it shipped to a nearby package locker, or just pick it up at the post office. 

4. Check your security system.

If you have a home security system, this is a good time to give it a once-over and make sure everything is working well. Check that your cameras are properly angled, that you are receiving the camera feed on your phone, and that your password settings are correct.

5. Don’t overload your outlets.

Overloaded outlets can overheat and start a fire. You might need to unplug a few appliances before plugging in your holiday lights. Never connect more than three strands of holiday lights in sequence. Also, check the cords on your holiday lights and other electric decor for fraying before you plug them in.

6. Move decorations away from heat sources.

This holiday safety tip could prevent so many fires! Never put decorations near the fireplace, near a space heater, or by a candle that you plan on lighting. Especially if you have kids or plan to have kids visit for the holidays, using candle warmers is a lot safer than lighting a candle. The battery-operated ones don’t even require an outlet!

7. Unplug your tree when you leave the house.

Don’t forget to unplug your tree each time you leave your home, even if you are just running errands. As beautiful as holiday tree lights are, they are a fire hazard when unattended.

Fires and theft are two of the biggest risks associated with the holiday season. Follow these holiday safety tips, and you can feel confident that your home is safe and secure. Happy Holidays to you and to yours!