As the holiday season approaches, many people are busy decking the halls and getting ready for Christmas, Kwanzaa and Hanukkah. But while you’re busy shopping for gifts and decorating your home, don’t forget to take steps to keep yourself and your belongings safe.

Here are six simple tips to help you keep your home safe while you celebrate the season.

Keep an Eye on Your Electrical Outlets

During the holidays, it’s important to keep an eye on your electrical outlets around the house. Your outlets can only handle so many string lights and extension cords powering electronics like heaters and decorations before problems arise.

Blown fuses, circuit breakers, and frayed extension cords can cause safety hazards, including fires. Evaluate what you have and consider unplugging a few items. Also, check that extension cords are not damaged or split. Spend some time feeling things like the decorations and the extension cords to see if there are any hot spots that you should be aware of.

Now could be a great time to update outlets to ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI). They have a built-in circuit breaker and shut off power immediately if there’s a problem. This reduces your risk of home fires and electric shocks.

Make sure each outlet has enough space between devices, and be mindful of how many extension cords you have connected. Being aware of this now can help prevent a holiday disaster down the road!

Keep Your Doors and Windows Locked at all Times

The holiday season is an especially important time to stay vigilant about the security of your home. Make sure doors are always locked when you’re away, or even if you’re just relaxing at home.

Windows should also be securely closed and locked whenever possible. Remember, these simple steps can provide peace of mind knowing that your family and possessions remain safe while you focus on celebrating the pleasantness of the holidays.

Another way to make your holiday season more secure is by adding outdoor lights. Placing motion sensor lights around the perimeter of your home will alert you if anyone approaches at night.

Other options include solar-powered pathway LED lights, which can be lined up along walkways and balconies while also providing enough light for visibility and safety. Keeping your home brightly illuminated throughout the holiday season is both aesthetically pleasing and a great way to deter potential intruders.

Don’t Leave Your Gifts out in the Open Where Thieves Can See Them

If you go to a mall, bring someone along to help you be a lookout. Also, you can each carry a few items rather than you carrying a lot of heavy bags. You don’t want to be an attractive target.

Also, if you carry a purse, make sure it’s zipped up and secure. You’re better off having a cross-body purse rather than a shoulder strap.

Since so many of us order online, you should set up accounts with delivery companies like UPS and FedEx as well as USPS, so you get notified of what is going to be delivered and when. Then, you can bring in your boxes before the porch pirates can swipe them.

Protect Your Pets

The holidays are a great time to dress up your house and put some spirit and cheer into your home. The last thing you want, however, is for your furry friends to get injured by decorations that can be difficult for them to resist.

To protect your pets from holiday decorations, keep fragile ornaments out of their reach and opt for non-toxic options like cedar garlands.

Also, protect your special items to ensure they don’t get knocked over accidentally.

Ribbon and tinsel should also be avoided as they can cause intestinal blockages if swallowed. Some pets, also, unfortunately, will eat bows. You may want to pet-proof presents before putting them out.

Christmas trees should not just be glittering with lights but secured, so cats and other critters don’t knock them over. Some people have put child safety gates around their trees. That doesn’t always work if you have a good jumper.

Know your pets. With these few precautions in place, your home can radiate festive joy for both you and your pet all season long!

Don’t use Candles on Your Tree

Open flames, such as candles and fireplaces, can be a source of warmth and holiday cheer. However, they can also pose a risk if not monitored closely.

If you are going to have lit candles or any other open flames, remember to keep an eye on it, or have someone else monitoring it as well. Have everyone gathered in the same room to appreciate the beauty of the firelight. And please don’t leave a lit candle unattended.

Make sure your smoke detectors are in working order. Keep combustible materials away from open flames and use extra caution when lighting matches or lighters near decorations. While many current holiday decorations are fire-resistant, it’s not worth taking any chances.

We hope these holiday decorating safety tips ensure you have a problem-free season full of love, family, and happiness.

For more winter advice, learn “How to Get Your Home Ready for Winter.