Santa Claus Is Coming to Town. Are You (and Your Home) Ready?

The holidays are a joyous time of fun, food, family, and friends. But let’s get real: We do some pretty crazy stuff during the season. From hanging pine boughs on the mantle over a roaring fire to dropping a 23-pound bird in a vat of hot oil to slipping and sliding with friends on ice-covered hills, there are plenty of opportunities for things to go wrong. Be sure to keep these Christmas safety tips in mind to make sure your holiday season stays merry and bright.

  • Baby, it’s cold outside:When the weather outside is frightful, few things are more comforting than a warm fire in the fireplace. Make sure yours is ready to go by giving it a good cleaning (or hiring a pro to do the job). Avoid chimney fires, smoke backups, and a certain jolly old elf’s sooty footprints all over your house by giving it a thorough cleaning! To make sure your home is ready for the cold weather even after the holidays are over, check out this article on winterizing your home.
  • O Christmas tree:The holiday season is the worst time of year for home fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association, thanks in part to the Christmas trees we like to rock around this time of year. Water your live tree each day, and position any tree (live or artificial) at least 3 feet away from heat sources to lower your risk. Turn off Christmas lights and remember to blow out those gingerbread-scented candles before leaving the house.
  • Keep only chestnuts on your open fire:While we’re talking about fire, remember to not only hang your stockings by the chimney with care, but also be sure to keep garland and other décor as well as holiday ribbons and wrappings away from an open flame or other heat source.
  • Don’t let a grinch steal your Christmas:Of course, the holidays are a time to welcome others into your home, but that’s no reason to tempt uninvited grinches who may be passing by. Keep doors and gates locked, and don’t leave delivered packages on your porch longer than necessary. If you’re traveling for the holiday, contact the United States Postal Service to hold your mail so you don’t alert thieves that the house is empty.
  • Give us figgy pudding: Most of our holiday festivities center around food, so be sure to keep a few things in mind while you’re preparing your family’s favorite dishes. Stay with your food while you’re frying, grilling, or broiling. Foods cooking at these high temperatures can easily burn and catch fire if not attended . . . and do you really want to be remembered as the one who burned the kitchen on Christmas Day? You’d never hear the end of it. Store leftovers in the fridge, and when reheating them, make sure they reach an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees to eliminate bacteria and prevent anything-but-festive food poisoning.
  • White Christmas: It’s rare to have a white Christmas in South Carolina, but if winter weather shows up in the forecast, make sure you have shovels and salt on hand to keep your driveway and walkways safe and ice-free. You wouldn’t want a reindeer slipping and injuring a knee. (Just for fun, have a look at these fascinating facts about reindeer.
  • Dashing (safely) through the snow: Now that your home is ready for Santa’s visit, we want to remind you, as always, to put away the phone and other distractions while driving this holiday season. There are more people on the roads and the chance of icy road conditions increases. Remember that Grandma got run over by a reindeer after having a little too much egg nog, so when you celebrate with friends and family, please drink responsibly and call a ride to keep you and others safe and sound this Christmas.

For more Christmas safety tips, check out this page by the National Safety Council

About Joe Popkowski