Holiday Safety Tips: Decorating, Theft and Pets


The holidays can be challenging! From keeping your home and family safe to protecting your pets, there are several things to keep in mind for safety’s sake.

Decorations or Fire Hazards?

Tips Courtesy of Shelter Insurance

Candles and menorahs, Christmas trees and lights all add to the beauty of the holiday season, but they can also pose safety hazards if you aren’t careful. To avoid fires started by candles:

  • Keep them out of reach of children and pets
  • Keep them away from anything flammable, including curtains, bedding, walls, etc.
  • Make sure your clothing doesn’t come into contact with the candle’s flame.
  • Be sure all the candles in your house are extinguished completely before you go to bed at night.

To avoid fires when you put up your tree:

  • Make sure you don’t put it up near a heat source. This goes for both real and artificial trees. Neither of those kinds of trees like heat, and they get enough heat from lights.
  • Check the water level daily if you have a fresh tree so it doesn’t dry out. A dried out tree and hot Christmas lights don’t mix!
  • Make sure you plug decorative lights into a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet. A GFCI outlet is the type that has “Test” and “Reset” buttons. Also, be careful not to overload your circuits when using extension cords and power strips.


Theft is on the rise this time of year. Whether you are out shopping, going out to a party or going out of town, remember these tips to avoid becoming a victim:

  • If you carry a purse, keep it on your shoulder and tucked tightly in front of you. If you keep it in the front of your cart, a thief can distract you and grab it.
  • In a parking lot, be alert. Put your phone away, and park in well-lit areas, preferably close to an entrance—especially at night.
  • Don’t unlock your doors remotely. Wait until you’re at your car.
  • Don’t leave packages or valuables in sight in your car.
  • Make sure all of your doors, windows and garage doors are locked at home.
  • Keep your outside Christmas lights on a timer, even if you go out of town. Do this with a few lights inside your house as well to give the appearance that someone is home.


During the holidays, there are more opportunities for pets to eat things they shouldn’t, get tangled in ribbon and lights, swallow things that can be a choking hazard and more. To avoid pet danger and keep them from wreaking other holiday havoc, take these things into consideration:

  • Watch what they eat – Chocolate, fat trimmings, skin and bones from meat, and nuts can make your pet very ill.
  • Watch what they play with – Some Christmas ornaments look like tennis balls, and your dog may want to “fetch” them for you. Since many of these are glass and have hangers, they can be dangerous to your dog. Even if he doesn’t get hurt, he could accidentally pull down the tree. In addition, cats like tinsel but can’t digest it and any pets could chew on lights or bring down the tree. Why not give them a treat—some new toys to play with!

We hope none of these unfortunate scenarios happen to you and you have a happy holiday season!