Don’t Scrooge Yourself – 7 Holiday Disasters To Avoid This Year

December 11, 2015

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – Before you get that sentimental feeling and start rocking around the Christmas tree, take a moment to consider these seven holiday disasters that could make it a not so wonderful life this year.

Fire caused by decorations

Clean your chimney before lighting the first fire of the season. It’s estimated that almost 75% of fireplace users haven’t cleaned or inspected their fireplace in the past year

Never leave candles or open flames unattended. Keep them away from curtains or other decorations. According to the National Fire Protection Association, the top three days for home fires caused by candles are Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Water your tree so it doesn’t become dry. Make sure the tree is sticky to the touch and doesn’t lose a lot of needles when you shake it.

Don’t overload your electrical outlets and use surge protectors. When hanging lights, check for frayed or broken strands. Be careful how you hang them as stapling through a live wire can be disastrous.

A guest injured in your home

Remember, you are responsible if your guest has too much to drink or slips and falls in your home.

Make sure the driveway, porch, or entryways into your home are free of obstruction, debris, or ice if the temperatures are freezing.

Check around the home to make sure that welcome mats, rugs, and electrical cords are secured and properly tacked down.

A cooking fire

When the holiday cheer and the holiday spirits start flowing, it’s easy to get distracted and roast more than just chestnuts. According to FEMA, the leading cause of residential building fires from 2004–2013 was Cooking (36.8%).

Limit the risk of having a cooking fire by

  • Enlisting the aid of a ‘little helper’ to cut down on multitasking in the kitchen
  • Making sure all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors have new batteries
  • Making sure that the fire extinguisher is operational and that family members or friends that feel like family know how to operate them

Stolen packages

This year an estimated, 92% of holiday shoppers will go online to either research or purchase gifts this season. While shopping online makes the holidays more convenient, some 23 million Americans have reported that holiday packages were swiped from their front stoops.

To keep the Grinch from stealing Christmas, try customizing your delivery options to –

  • Upgrade shipping to require a signature
  • Specify the times you want packages delivered
  • Set up delivery alerts and updates on your phone
  • If the boss allows, have the items shipped to your workplace

Sewer backups

Extra guests in your home means over-time for your sewer or septic systems – it’s estimated that 47 million Americans have experience a sewer backup during the holiday season.

Hiring a plumber to do a quick inspection of your home could help you avoid potential disasters. You can also help prevent frozen pipes by setting your thermostat above 55F and leaving cabinet doors open to allow heat to reach exposed pipes.

Car accidents

Only in NJ will you have the chance to experience all four seasons within a week. During the holidays, dangerous road conditions such as snow, ice, or even road construction can increase your risk of an auto accident.

Because the average American doesn’t have reindeer that fly, the number of drivers on the road during the holidays will increase.

So give yourself plenty of time to avoid feeling in a rush.

If you’ve RSVP’d ‘yes’ to a number of holiday party invitations, enter the addresses into your GPS or mobile phone BEFORE you get on the road.

Your phone can also calculate travel time, so set an alert 15 to 30 minutes before you need to leave to arrive on time to your destination


According to a recent Allstate Insurance poll, burglary in general increases 11 percent during the holidays. While your standard homeowners policy will cover most of your possessions, it won’t be enough to cover things like antiques, silver flatware, jewelry or watches.

Consider buying an endorsement, or add-on, to upgrade your homeowners or renters policy. An endorsement to a homeowners policy might give $5,000 worth of protection for jewelry and furs, $5,000 for silverware, and some coverage for antiques and fine arts.

When you’re out holiday shopping, don’t leave purchases in the passenger section of your car. Don’t cover them with a blanket – store them out of sight, in the trunk.

If you’re going to be traveling, ask your neighbors to watch your house and bring in any mail. Consider putting your lights on a timer or connect them to an app that allows them to be controlled from your phone to make it look like you’re home.

We hope we didn’t ‘Krampus’ your Christmas spirit, but the holidays can often come wrapped in a number of possible hazards. Like Santa checking his list twice, it’s important to take measures to reduce the risk of theft, injury, accidents, or fires.

Have a safe and happy holiday season from The Ross Maghan Agency!

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