Your Insurance Christmas Checklist

‘Tis the season of love, laughter, gifts and good cheer… but it also, in some cases, can bring us injuries, accidents, and even scams and even thieves. However, with a little awareness and some planning and thinking ahead, your holiday season can indeed be merry and bright.

Ah the Christmas tree… this beautiful symbol of the season dates way as far back as pre-Christianity times the Christian Era itself. Just as people today decorate their homes and apartments during the holidays, in ancient times evergreen trees and boughs were hung over doors and windows, believing that the trees that stayed green year round would protect them from spirits, bad omens and even illness.

Today, evergreen Christmas trees are grown in all 50 states and can be found in nearly every home; it has even become a bit famous through events such as the annual lighting of the tree in Rockefeller Center. The trees in our homes, whether real or artificial, have become the centerpiece of the holiday décor, a showplace for our favorite childhood ornaments, family heirlooms and more. It goes without saying that with such sentiments attached, keeping it all safe is of the utmost importance. So when decorating your home, you should keep the following things in mind:

When choosing your tree, if you do not have an artificial tree, fresh is always best. The fresher the tree, the less likely it will become dried out quickly, staving off the chance of ignition from bad lighting or nearby candles. Remember to water your tree often. It loves the water and it will stay fuller, more nourished and less likely to shed all over your floor for weeks with proper care. If you are using an artificial tree, take a moment to be sure that it is flame retardant. Keep in mind that both natural and artificial trees should have room to spare. Never place them closer than three feet from candles, fireplaces, space heaters, heat vents or other heat sources.

Lights are beautiful and they give life to everything around them. When choosing your lighting, be sure to check for the certification mark of an accredited certification organization such as CSA International, UL or ELT. That goes for extension cords, spotlights, string lights, gas appliances and carbon monoxide alarms as well. Basically, if you plug it in, be sure to check it out.

When you are ready to start putting up those twinkling lights, check for frayed cords, cracked lamp holders and loose connections. And though this should go without saying, please always make sure that the lights are off when you replace bulbs. The holidays are a great time to clean up clutter and test your smoke alarms too. Be sure to add safety checks to your to-do list for a stress-free season.

Headed out of town for the holidays? Think about adding a timer to your lights. Timers for either your holiday lights, daily lights or both will help give your home the occupied look the look of being occupied and will help and keep would be thieves at bay.

If your holiday travel includes driving, be sure your vehicle is properly maintained, map your route in advance to avoid travel delays and always keep anything of value, like those presents for the aunts, uncles and cousins, stored safely away in the trunk. Be sure your cell phone is charged up and don’t forget the charger. For those traveling by air or train, stay connected through travel apps and keep an eye on the weather. Regardless of your means of travel, always stay together and when kids are along, be sure to have the “don’t talk to strangers” discussion and go with them on snack or bathroom breaks.

Most of all, remember to act in the spirit of the season and share the magic that comes with the joy of the holidays. Plan ahead, leave the stress at home and enjoy it every step of the way. From the Heacock family to yours, we wish you all health, happiness and a very merry Christmas.