istock-492316316Tis the season again, folks: the holidays! Cold weather and shorter days aside, Christmas has arrived; and just like every other year, it is quite arguably one of the happiest, most memorable times for us all. It’s also one that is quite possibly the most travelled. We venture far and wide to visit our loved ones; and although it is well worth the lengthy distances, crowded roadways, and busy airports, our homes are often left unattended for days (sometimes weeks) at a time. So, how can we make certain that our homes are safe while we are away?


It’s important to keep a few significant safety precautions front of mind when planning out your holiday vacations/getaways – and this goes beyond the routine locking of your doors. You essentially want to create the illusion that someone is home. For example, set your lights on a timer so that your home is never in complete darkness. “You can also set the television and radio on a timer to create the typical noise and flickering lights of an average family home at night”. Another great piece of advice is to arrange for a neighbour or close friend to shovel your laneway after a heavy snowfall – inevitable with the unpredictability of our chilly climate, especially around the holidays – and to check your mailbox regularly. This way, your driveway will be clear and your mail won’t pile up, leaving your doorstep overcrowded with parcels, envelopes and newspapers. An alternative to this would be to forward your mail. Canada Post has mail forwarding programs so that, if you’re away from your home for long periods of time, you can “rest easy, knowing you’re not missing important mail”.


Furthermore, if you’re a trusting individual and feel comfortable lending a spare key, it might be a wise consideration to lean on a reliable neighbour or friend. This way, someone you trust will have complete access to your home if in the event there is an emergency while you are away. Ideally this person would be the same neighbour or friend you’ve asked to check your mail and take care of your laneway. After all, when planning your travels, mum’s the word. In other words, it’s advised that you “never, ever announce your departure or vacation dates on social networks”. Word can travel relatively quickly through social media, and so it’s probably best to keep as many vacation details to yourself and with the trusted members in your closest circles.


Suggested safety precautions that you can do personally around your home before taking off for Christmas include “unplugging all unnecessary appliances (except those on timers, of course) to protect your home from an electrical fire of power surge”. This applies to most essential appliances, both big and small: televisions, toasters, coffee makers, and so forth. Moreover, be mindful of your thermostat. You’ll want to keep your home “warm enough to keep the pipes from freezing, but cool enough to save”.


Traveling over the holiday season should be something that you and your families look forward to, stress-free; and it’s doable if you are diligent in taking the necessary precautions toward safeguarding your home. Here’s to a safe, and enjoyable holiday!