For most of us, the holiday season will look a little different this year: less travelling, smaller gatherings, no sitting on Santa’s lap. Having a COVID-safe Christmas is, understandably, at the top of our minds. While we are thinking about holiday safety, here are some tips to help prevent some classic (pre-COVID) Christmas damage and injury.
For your home:
- Keep your mind in the kitchen when you are cooking. Regardless of the revelry around you at Christmastime, don’t lose track of your cooking or baking. (A burnt turkey doesn’t just leave people hungry; it can set your house on fire.)
- Buy a fresh tree and water it daily to help prevent it from drying out and becoming even more flammable than trees inherently are.
- Turn off your Christmas tree lights when you go to bed, leave the home, or water the tree.
- Keep candles away from Christmas trees, garlands and other flammable décor, and monitor them closely while they are burning.
- Use indoor lights inside, and outdoor lights
- Use proper, safety-certified ladders when putting up lights or trimming your tree, and have a spotter.
- If your lighting display involves extension cords, make sure they are brightly coloured, well-secured, and tucked away from common pathways.
For your vehicle:
- Drive defensively and be generous to your fellow drivers. Pull over and let those in a rush pass you when it is safe.
- Install winter tires.
- Consider the weather and check road conditions prior to departure.
- Familiarize yourself with safe driving techniques for winter road conditions, if you have to drive in them.
- Leave adequate time to get to your destination, and allow for traffic delays.
- Do not leave luggage or gifts in your car.
- Use extra caution in parking lots, where December is a particularly dangerous month.
- Avoid unnecessary trips. 2020 has made us go virtual and reduce our outings significantly, so this should be easier than ever!
For your business:
- De-ice the sidewalks and walkways around your business.
- Provide safe rides home after serving alcohol to your employees (at your physically distanced holiday party).
- Thoroughly train seasonal staff hired to assist during the Christmas rush, and make sure they are familiar with all safety protocols.
- Give your employees breaks and encourage rest. Workplace injuries rise when employees are tired and overworked, both of which are common in December.
- If your business will be closed over the holidays, ensure your security systems are up-to-date, and that valuables are locked away.
- Avoid portable space heaters when possible, as they pose fire and electrical risks.
For your loved ones:
- Help your elderly friends and relatives get around when it’s icy.
- Pitch in when it’s time to move the turkey.
- Give age-appropriate gifts to children, as many toys contain choking hazards.
- Clean-up broken ornaments before anyone can step on the pieces.
- Keep mistletoe and holly out of reach of children and pets – the berries are toxic.
- Reach-out to the people you care about. In the best of years, Christmas can be an especially hard time for those living with mental health issues, and the isolation and uncertainty of the pandemic is likely to exacerbate these issues for some.
Most holiday perils can be mitigated by thoughtfulness. Be mindful of yourself and others, and have a safe and merry Christmas!
For more holiday safety information, check out these articles:
- Yuletide Calamity, from the National Post
- The 12 Days of Holiday Safety, from Public Safety Canada
- Tips for Holiday Safety, from the Government of Canada
- Here’s what lands people in the ER over the holidays, from Global News
- How to deal with holiday stress, according to a psychologist, by CBC News
- COVID-19: Plan a safe holiday or celebration