5 tips for a safe and happy holiday season

4 min.

As Christmas approaches, read our guide to a worry-free holiday season and learn how to avoid theft and other unwanted mishaps.

The holidays are the best time to create a cozy ambiance in your home, spend some quality time with family and spoil your loved ones. Here are our 5 tips to reduce the risk of incidents and enjoy your celebrations to the fullest.

1- Outwit potential thieves
Remember that the holiday season is thieves’ favourite time of year. The key word is discretion.

When you’re out shopping, make sure to keep your purchases out of sight. Put gifts in the trunk of your car, rather than in the backseat, so that they’re not visible from the outside.

Buying gifts online? Be aware that your packages are at risk of being stolen when they’re delivered. It’s easy for someone to simply steal deliveries that are left in full view in front of your house. Make sure you’re home to receive your deliveries or make arrangements to collect them at the store or post office.

If you’re out of the house for an evening or a few days, be discreet on social media to reduce the risk of theft. Even if you’re dying to post the news that you’ll be spending the holidays with your family in a beautiful cottage, it may not be the best idea. Social media has become a useful tool for criminals, and posting where you’re going and for how long only makes things easier for them. To protect your home from burglars, wait until you get home to post your photos.

2- Make sure your Christmas tree is safe
Artificial Christmas trees are recommended, as they’re less likely to catch on fire. If you do opt for a real tree, here are a few tips to make sure it’s safe:

  • Don’t set your tree up next to heat sources (lamps, candles, fireplaces, etc.), or in high-traffic areas or exits.
  • Don’t let your tree dry out – make sure your stand has a water reservoir and water it every day. A dry tree is more likely to catch fire, especially if your lights are not LED bulbs.
  • Don’t put the remnants of your Christmas tree in your fireplace, as burning needles produce a lot of heat very quickly, increasing the risk of fire. Find out what the rules are for Christmas tree disposal in your municipality.

Also, did you know that you should never decorate your fireplace mantle with natural tree branches? The branches will dry out very quickly and could easily catch fire.

3- Be careful when putting up your Christmas lights
Christmas lights give your home that festive feeling. To prevent the risk of fire, there are a few precautions you should take.

  • Choose lights that are certified by reliable organizations, such as CSA or ULC
  • Make sure you’re using the right lights and extension cords for the right use, whether it’s interior or exterior
  • Check the condition of your lights and don’t put a string up if the cord is damaged
  • Always turn off your Christmas lights when you leave the house and when going to bed
  • Never hide extension cords under a carpet – they can get damaged or overheat
  • Don’t overload extension cords and electrical outlets

4- Plan ahead if driving
Have you been invited to a New Year’s party, or are you planning to spend a few days away for the holidays? Check the weather forecast before you leave, pay extra attention in inclement weather and adapt your driving to winter conditions. Make sure you brush all the snow of your car for your own safety as well as the safety of the cars behind you.

If you’re going away for a longer period of time, it’s a good idea to make it look like you’re home when you’re not:

  • Leave a light on, or set your lights on a timer
  • Have someone shovel your entryway
  • Turn off the water to avoid burst pipes
  • Ask a neighbour or someone you trust to pick up your mail

5- Host guests with peace of mind
Before your guests arrive, take the time to shovel away the snow in front of your front door, as well as in front of any other exits. Also clear the ice and snow from all paths to the house to keep anyone from slipping and getting hurt.

When your guests arrive, there’s often a lot of excitement that can distract you from your cooking. To reduce the risk of fire, it’s important to keep these good habits in mind:

  • Never leave cooking food unattended.
  • Use a timer to avoid forgetting things in the oven.
  • When frying food in oil, use a deep fryer, not a pot. Frying oil can catch fire if it’s kept at a high temperature for a long time. Using an electric deep fryer with a temperature regulator is safer.
  • Be careful when using a fondue burner and don’t add fuel when it’s hot. Instead, use a second burner or simply an electric fondue pot.
  • Make sure that any guests who are over the alcohol limit don’t drive home. Call a drive-home program or a taxi, or invite them to stay over.

We hope these prevention tips will help you enjoy the holidays with peace of mind. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about car or home insurance, our team is available to make sure your needs are met.

Happy Holidays!


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