The “Holiday Season” is in full swing and no matter what holidays you celebrate this time of year tends to be filled with happiness and joy. Unfortunately, there can be situations that arise that are far from pleasant. We certainly can’t live our lives expecting the worst, however, when we can take simple steps to avoid negative consequences we should. Today, let’s take a look at some simple steps we can take to mitigate misfortune this Holiday Season.
Don’t let the Christmas Spirit be spoiled!
Retailers do an excellent job of helping shoppers get into the Spirit of Christmas. Other than the impact on our pocket book this is a good thing. We do have to remember, however, that not everyone is in the spirit and some less savory characters might actually intentionally take advantage of those of us that have a more jovial outlook. Criminals live by a different set of standards and often exploit law abiding citizens expectations and boundaries.
Rob Pincus and Mark Walters recently discussed holiday safety and the New Jersey carjacking in particular on the Armed American Radio podcast. You can listen to it here.
Here are some simple steps you can take while out and about and in your home to lower your risk to crime while shopping:
- Before you get out of your vehicle and enter a store, separate your form of payment from the balance of your funds. This simple step can help keep the contents of your wallet private from those who may be near you at the checkout. During extended shopping trips it is common for people to carry more cash than normal. Criminals know this and are looking for targets of opportunity. Set a reasonable budget for each store and separate an appropriate form of payment to reduce your chance of becoming that target.
- Keep holiday gifts out of sight in your vehicle. Just like displaying a large amount of cash can provide a criminal with the motivation to act, having items of value in plain sight in your vehicle can be the guaranteed payoff that a crook is looking for. Place valuable in your trunk, or use that winter blanket or privacy screen to conceal items in you car while making multiple stops.
- Just like gifts in your vehicle can attract unwanted attention, gifts under the tree, wrapped or not, can be seen as an invitation to the individual that is looking for an easy holiday pay off. Put those gifts out the night before you celebrate and after they are unwrapped, put the gifts where they belong, away and out of sight.
- After your gifts are opened and in use, dispose of packaging appropriately. If you are putting trash out at the curb make sure that boxes and other packaging items don’t advertise your expensive new computers, electronics, jewelry or other items that may tempt those that are trolling for a victim. Simply cutting a new television box so that it can be folded with the lettering on the inside makes it more difficult for the would be bugler to identify the home that is worth their effort.
Christmas Decoration Safety
Many people accent their decorations with a Christmas Tree. It is difficult to argue with the positive addition the visual and aromatic addition that real evergreen trees and accents add to the Holiday Spirit. With a few precautions your tree can add to the holiday as opposed to becoming an additional safety hazard.
This video from the Consumer product Safety Commission provides some good information as to how you can help keep your family safe throughout the holidays.
Here are four important considerations to take into account when enjoying your Christmas greens:
- If you are buying a natural tree make sure it is fresh and consistently watered. If possible, consider a tree that you cut down yo-***urself. This ensures that you will have a fresh tree. If you buy a precut, real tree from a lot, make sure the needles are moist when you break them and avoid trees with brown needles. This can be a tough task as many trees are artificially colored to look fresh long after they have been cut. When you get home with your tree, make sure to take a the bottom two inches off of the trunk so that the tree is able to absorb water and keep the water reservoir in your tree stand full all the time.
- Making sure that your tree is secure is an important task as well. An insecure tree is a risk to you and those that you love not only because an unstable tree could fall and injure you or those that you love, but also because a fallen tree can result in broken household items and ornaments which increase the likelihood of injury from sharp and difficult to clean up glass. Make sure that your tree is in a secure stand. You can use your stand year after year so don’t be afraid to purchase a quality tree stand with a large reservoir and a secure base. In addition, especially for large trees, consider using heavy test mono-filament fishing line to secure the tree to the wall. This extra steps takes a few minutes to accomplish, however, with a large tree, or in homes with small children or pets, it can be an important step.
- One of the most attractive aspects of a real tree is the wonderful smell of pine. Who wouldn’t want to have that smell for as long as possible? Our desire for the benefits of a real tree must be balanced with the risks involved. When the tree becomes dry it is time for the tree to be disposed of.
- Electrical fires are always a concern in the home. Holiday decorations can lead to an increased risk. Make sure to use lights that are certified by an independent agency such as Underwriters Laboratory (UL.) In addition, follow the manufacturers directions regarding the use of extension cords and multiple strings of lights.
Safet-**y and security must always be approached from an attitude of balance of risk versus benefit. We cannot live our lives in a constant state of fear, however, when risks are present and we can mitigate those risks we should do so. The Holiday Season is a time to be enjoyed and the easy to execute tips outlined above can allow us to enjoy the season with confidence that we have reduced the risks to our loved ones and ourselves.
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