6 Ways to Keep Your Home Safe This Holiday Season

To keep your December merry and bright, follow these holiday security tips. Pictured: hands wrapping a gift against a red background

As the holiday season gets into full swing, your mind is probably occupied with gift-giving, baking, shopping, traveling, spending time with loved ones, and other fun activities. Holiday security probably isn’t something that’s at the top of your mind, but since this time of year is a prime time for house fires and theft, you’ll need to take steps to protect your home.

Keep your home merry and bright by following these holiday security tips:

hand holding phone with social media icons (facebook, instagram, twitter, pinterest, linkedin, etc.)

Don’t post your plans on social media. 

When you’re planning to travel or have started your holiday trip, don’t post your plans or pictures from your trip on social media. Never post that you’re away from home for an extended period of time or when you’re leaving or coming back. Even if you have some of your online information set to be private, this is never a good idea. It could alert potential burglars to when your house will be empty.

African American man delivers packages to African American woman

Protect your packages.

If you’re having gifts delivered to your home, “porch pirates” could steal your presents before you’re able to retrieve them. Protect your packages by having them shipped to you at work, if possible. You can also try to get your packages shortly after they arrive by using the online tracking service for carriers like the U.S. Postal Service.

Father, mother, and daughter decorating Christmas tree. Father picks up daughter so she can put star on top of tree.

Take care when you’re decorating. 

Decorating safely is an important part of holiday security since it can help prevent house fires. Inspect your indoor and outdoor lights for signs of damage like frayed wires, and make sure you don’t overload your outlets with too many electrical devices. If you have a real Christmas tree, make sure it has plenty of water and is away from heat sources. Also take care when you decorate your mantle with greenery or hang your stockings there. If you use your fireplace frequently, consider moving these flammable decorations elsewhere.

If you plan to use your fireplace during the holiday season, you may want to avoid hanging decorations on the mantle. Pictured: fireplace with greenery and stockings hung on mantle

Heat your home safely.

Anything you use to heat your home should be properly serviced and maintained. For example, chimneys, fireplaces, and wood and coal stoves should be regularly inspected and professionally cleaned if needed. Your furnace should also be checked yearly to make sure it’s working properly, since a malfunction could increase your risk or fire as well as carbon monoxide poisoning.

security camera mounted to side of building

Protect your home while you travel.

When you’re away from home for an extended period of time, consider investing in a home security system. Putting your mail delivery on hold will help prevent it from piling up in your mailbox and alerting thieves that you’re away from home. You can also install a smart water sensor to detect any leaks in your home and automatically shut off the water if a leak occurs. That way, you won’t come home from your holiday trip to find water damage in your home because a leak was undetected for days.

pile of gifts with colorful wrapping and bows

Keep your gifts safe.

As tempting as it is to have your Christmas tree with all the presents underneath visible from a door or from windows, this alerts thieves to the fact that you have a lot of gifts. The same thing is true if you put empty boxes from your new computer, TV, or other expensive presents out for garbage day. You’re alerting potential thieves to what they can possibly steal from your home.

From porch pirates to fire hazards, some dangers to your home security are more common around the holidays. But following the tips listed above, you can reduce your chances of falling victim to a holiday Grinch.

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