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While the vast majority of our holiday season is spent making memories both merry and bright with family and friends, there is an undeniable sense of impending dread that hovers over this time of year like a dense fog. No, it isn’t the ghosts of Christmas past, present or future waking us up during the wee hours of the night – it’s the (sometimes prophetic) fear that everything that can go wrong, will go wrong, when all we want is nothing but perfection from our holidays. Just ask any real-life Clark Griswold who has stapled themselves to their roof while staging Christmas lights, or has suffered another equally embarrassing Yuletide misstep.


Accidents occur when we find ourselves vulnerable in a situation of unpreparedness. Before you go about your business over the last few weeks of this year, here are some obvious yet important to remember tips to help keep your holidays happy and healthy:


Prevent Poisoning

Although holly, mistletoe, ivy and poinsettias are perfect holiday décor, they are in fact poisonous and can ruin your holiday fun if the proper precautions aren’t taken. Watch any pets and small children around these plants, and be sure to wash your hands before eating food after handling. Ditching the real stuff for imitation plastic is the way to go.


Use Scissors, Not a Knife!

When gifted a shiny new Christmas package, do not rush to grab the nearest sharp object to open your present. No matter how excited you may be, it’s not worth a nasty cut or worse – a potential trip to the emergency room. Scissors are your safest bet, especially when opening items that come in thick plastic protective casing. Be sure to open tricky packages for small children.


Watch Your Footing

Winter is not the time to be hustling across the street. Our sidewalks are slick during this time of year, and you do not want to be the person who goes down hard on a sheet of black ice. Heavy boots minimize the chance of that happening. Additionally, in your home – especially on ladders – take it one step at a time.


Do Not Forget About Open Flames

Lighting candles is an excellent way to set the holiday mood. But open flames are always a hazard, and they often tend to get overlooked or forgotten altogether. Seemingly innocent, candles cause seven percent of all fire injuries in the U.S. Nearly 10,000 house fires each year are started by improper use of candles or inattention. Be wary of keeping open flames near Christmas trees or other flammable decorations.


Socket Safety

Statistics from the U.S. Fire Administration show that an estimated 24,000 house fires reported each year were caused by an electrical hazard of some kind. More than 80 percent of those fires occurred in single family homes, and while most electrical fires begin in bedrooms, the largest number of fatalities stem from fires that started in living rooms, dens, etc. To protect yourself, your loved ones and your home, remember to replace faulty bulbs or frayed cords and never overload your outlets.

Be Careful When Driving in Inclement Weather

According to the American Safety Council, Christmas and New Years are two of the most dangerous holidays to travel on our roads due to poor weather conditions and reckless driving. Remember to take it slow and keep both hands on the wheel during snow events and always pay close attention to the behavior of other drivers, who may be intoxicated, to better avoid accidents.


We Can Help

Keep yourself safe over the holidays by remembering these simple tips, and if you do find yourself hurt on Christmas, the capable and compassionate attorneys of Stampone O’Brien Dilsheimer Law are here to service any of your legal needs. Happy Holidays.