The Christmas season is full of so many wonderful things – spending time friends and family, gift giving, delicious holiday food and drink, parang music and parties. In fact, there’s so much fun to be had that people often let down their guard and are not as cautious as usual. Here are a few tips to help you keep Christmas safe, no matter what you’re doing…

Shopping Safety

1. Have a plan. Know where you’re going to shop and what you’re planning to buy for each person on your list. This keeps you focused and avoids you having to text or use your cell phone in crowded areas. You may unwittingly reveal personal details or plans during your conversation, and everyone knows that when you’re talking on a cell, your decibel level goes up and your attention to your immediate environment goes down. If you’re shopping with friends or family (particularly children) ensure that everyone stays close and within sight.
2. Trash the cash. Walk with minimal cash or none at all. Put everything you buy on your credit card or use a debit card to pay for purchases. If you have to visit an ATM, try to do it during the daytime in a well-populated area.
3. Lighten up. Park in a well-lit area if you know you’re going to be leaving your shopping location after dark and lock your doors as soon as you get into the car. Try not to park next to panels vans or vehicles with dark tint on the windows. If you’re uncomfortable or nervous, ask store or mall security to escort you to your vehicle. Do not linger in your parking spot to count money or make calls. Your car should be in good working order and always have enough gas to get you to and from your destination. If you’re taking public trans- portation, wait in a well-lit and busy area. Regardless of your means of travel, you should be observant as to whether or not you’re being followed. If you’re concerned
that you are, head for the nearest police station or call for help (hands-free) from your cell phone.

Home Safety

1. Children first. Be on the lookout for anything that could be a choking hazard to young children, like burst balloons, small batteries and parts that may have fallen off decora- tions or toys. Make sure that your Christmas tree is sturdy and its lights are in good working order.
2. Take your time. Rushing is what causes most accidents in the home, especially in the kitchen. When entertaining, give yourself lots of time to prepare your Christmas meals: you’ll likely get through the season with fewer spills, cuts and burns.
3. Lights out. It’s great to see homes and gardens all aglow, but remember to blow out candles and unplug Christmas lights if you are going to bed or leaving the house.

Party Safety

1. Know your limits. Don’t drink and drive; it’s that simple. If you know you will be drinking alcohol in excess of the legal limit, designate a driver or have a reliable taxi service on hand to take you home.
2. Be aware. Always be cognisant of your surroundings, especially if you are in a new place. Don’t leave your bags or belongings unattended and always keep an eye on where you have left your drink. Never accept drinks from anyone you don’t know.
3. Protect your ears. Most DJs these days pump up the music to dangerous decibel levels. If you want to parang all night long, it might be a good idea to walk with earplugs, lest you start to confuse the ringing in the ears with Santa’s sleigh bells.