Whether we like to admit it or not, hosting holiday gatherings for friends and family members is stressful and takes a toll on us. Amid all of the holiday cheer, holiday decorations, and holiday preparations, you can put your home and yourself at risk. If you are in charge of hosting the holiday festivities this year, there are some mistakes you should avoid so that you can have a healthy, safe holiday. Here are:
What would the holidays be without lights and candles? Since we all decorate with lights and extension cords, it is a good idea to be aware of some safety precautions that can prevent a tragedy due to your decorations.
When you dig your lights and cords out of the basement, or if you have to purchase new electrical supplies this year, be sure that you use only ones that are UL-listed. These products have met safety standards and are a much safer choice for your home. It’s also better if you use the proper decorations indoors and outdoors: if your lights and decorations are not rated for outdoor use, do not put them outside. If you do, you risk electric shock and fire hazards.
When replacing bulbs in strings of Christmas lights, be sure to match the recommended wattage. If you use a bulb with a higher wattage than the string recommends, the light string can overheat and pose a fire risk. You also should wear gloves or use pliers when you remove broken bulbs so that you don’t risk cutting yourself, and be sure all lights are unplugged when you change or remove bulbs.
If you decorate with candles, you need to be especially aware of candle safety rules. It is so easy to leave a candle burning when you leave for a holiday gathering, but doing so puts your home in great danger. One tip for remembering to extinguish candles before leaving home or going to bed is to place your cell phone near the candle when you light it. Because there is a good chance you won’t leave home or go to bed without your phone, you’ll remember to extinguish the candle when you see your phone next to it.
Of course, preparing to host holiday gatherings takes a great deal of time and energy. But, once the event arrives, you need to make relaxing and enjoying time with your loved ones a priority. One way to be sure you take the time to relax during the holiday gathering is to reach out to others for help even though you are the host. Ask a family member to watch the food and drinks and replenish them when needed. Put one of the kids in charge of piling coats and scarves on the beds.
Another way to ensure you have time to relax during the holidays is to be as prepared for the event ahead of time as possible. Choose foods that you can make ahead of time and refrigerate. Start cleaning and organizing at least a week ahead of time. Make lists and mark off completed tasks so you can prioritize preparations and ensure everything is done in time for the gathering.
Drinking and celebrating are part of the holidays, but drinking and driving should not be. Your responsibility as host is to be aware of how much people have to drink and ensure their safety and that of anyone they potentially could encounter on the road. Be sure to gather keys from guests when they arrive and let them know that you have arrangements in mind should they need them.
It is key to have a plan in place ahead of time for getting people home or letting them sleep it off in your guest areas. If you live in an area that offers Uber, it is easy to arrange transportation home for local friends and family members. Or, designate drivers for the evening to drive home guests who imbibe a little too much.
The holidays are a lot more fun when you keep health and safety in mind. Our three tips will help you ensure a wonderful holiday season for your guests and yourself.