I love Christmas traditions. It seems every family has their own method for putting up the Christmas tree, choosing who gets to put the angel or star on top, decorating the house, and planning surprises from Elf on the Shelf.
As a risk management specialist, I have been given the gift of sight. In the insurance world, that means I can see potential risks in everyday objects. Admittedly, it’s a blessing and a curse, and it often gives me the jitters—especially around the holidays!
I’d like to share some of my favorite Christmas traditions with you from a risk management perspective:
The Christmas Tree: There’s nothing better than turning on your Christmas tree and seeing the beautiful, twinkling lights and sparkling ornaments. Despite their beauty, Christmas trees are a huge fire risk! If you’ve ever seen “Christmas Vacation,” you know what I mean. Be sure to water your tree daily, place it far away from a fireplace or heat source, and consider using LED lights. They don’t get hot and use less energy.
Candles: I love lighting Christmas candles that smell like the tree, fresh baked cookies, or cinnamon. However, candles are a common source of home fires. Never leave a candle unattended. When you leave the house, double check all the candles to make sure they have been extinguished.
Hanging Christmas lights: One of my favorite Christmas traditions is driving around to look at Christmas lights. As beautiful as they are, they can be treacherous to put up. If you are outside on a ladder, have someone with you to support the bottom. You don’t want to spend Christmas in a body cast!
Cooking: Christmastime means baking cookies, eating delicious meals, and fighting over the wishbone in the turkey. Unfortunately, it is also a time for frequent house fires caused by kitchen incidents. Set timers to prevent things from over cooking, double check that the oven or stove has been turned off, and use well-maintained kitchen utensils to prevent cuts and burns.
Christmas should be time of joy and celebration. Take the proper safety precautions to make sure the holidays stay joyful.