Christmas is coming and as a gift to you we’ve prepared a practical guide to avoiding certain misadventures during the Holidays. Follow our tips to stay ahead of potential burglars and avoid the risk of fire and other mishaps while having guests in your home.
Before the Holidays
Outwit potential thieves when shopping for presents
Remember that the Holiday season is thieves’ favourite time of year. Discretion is the key.
With Christmas just a few days away, you may be out doing some last-minute shopping for those hard-to-find gifts. When leaving stores, make sure your purchases are not on display. Make sure to keep your purchases out of sight - put them in the trunk of your car until you get home. Once you get home, keep everything out of sight and wait until Christmas Eve before putting gifts under the tree, to avoid attracting unwanted attention.
According to Statistics Canada, more than eight in ten Canadians made online purchases in 2018.1 Even if you’ve bought something online, you’re still not safe from thieves. It’s easy for someone to simply steal deliveries from your front door or porch. Make sure you’re home to receive your deliveries or make arrangements to pick them up at the store or post office.
Choose a safe Christmas tree and decorations
It’s tradition to decorate for the Holidays. To ensure you have the most brightly lit but safe home in the neighbourhood:
- If you choose a natural tree, make sure to water it regularly to avoid the risk of fire
- Choose lights that certified by reliable organizations, such as CSA or ULC
- Always turn off your Christmas lights when you leave the house and when going to bed
- Use decorative lightbulbs instead of real candles
- Avoid overloading extension cords and electrical outlets.
During the Holidays
If spending Christmas at someone else’s home
Plan ahead if driving. No one would blame you for being a little late or having to leave early because of road conditions. Check the weather forecast before you leave, be extra careful in inclement weather and adapt your driving to winter conditions. Make sure you also clear off your car completely before taking to the road. If you don’t clear off the roof of your car, snow and ice could slide onto your back window and block your view.
Whether you’re out 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 in the woods, 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.
Discourage thieves by making it look like you’re home when you’re not:
- Leave the lights on or a lamp with an LED bulb
- Set your lights on a timer
- Have someone shovel your entryway
- Turn off the water to avoid burst pipes
- As a neighbour or someone you trust to pick up your mail
If everyone’s celebrating at your house
Before your guests arrive, take the time to clear all entrances. Outside, clear the ice and snow from all entrances to the house to keep anyone from slipping and getting hurt.
Prevent fire. It’s December 24th in the afternoon, excitement is in the air, the oven’s working overtime and the kids are running all over the house. Watch out, the risk of fire is at its peak. Now is the time to remember some everyday safety tips:
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use a timer to avoid forgetting things in the oven
- When frying food, use a fryer, not a pot
You take the proper precautions and there’s still a fire? Submit your claim worry-free thanks to your home insurance coverage.
Christmas was a success! Santa left plenty of presents for the children and turkey dinner was delicious. Your mother and mother-in-law got along well and you even got something nice from your Secret Santa. Before you boast “mission accomplished”, make sure that any guests who may had a few drinks get home safely. Call a drive-home program or a taxi, or invite them to stay over.