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The holiday season is supposed to be a time of enjoyment, relaxation and love between family and friends. But it only takes one accident to turn your holiday celebration into a holiday disaster. Here are a few essential tips to ensure your holidays go off without a hitch:

Tip 1 - Keep Your Overnight Guests Comfortable

There's nothing more relaxing and rejuvenating than a hot shower -- especially during colder weather. Be sure to set your water heater to a comfortable temperature if you're having guests stay overnight. Many water heaters sold in America have a factory setting of 140 degrees, but dropping down to 120 degrees will still provide a warm shower. Reduced water heater temperatures will help you avoid scalded guests and higher utility bills.

Tip 2 - Clear Your Driveways and Walkways

Slick or poorly lit walkways can be hazardous to grandparents, older aunts and uncles and young children. Remove snow and treat icy conditions before your company arrives. It's also important to provide adequate lighting. Security lights and solar-powered lamps lining your walkways will help you eliminate dangerous conditions.

Tip 3 - Decorate Responsibly

Holiday decorations can quickly turn a celebration into a disaster. Here are some helpful tips to ensure you are decorating wisely around the house:

Avoid flammable decorations: Paper, lace and fabric decorations look beautiful, but they can pose a threat to your home. Opt for non-flammable and flame-retardant options to keep your home safe.

Never leave candles burning: Candles make the holidays special, but they can also pose a serious threat. In fact, there are almost 11,000 candle-related fires each year, resulting in 150 deaths and 1,200 injuries. Never leave candles burning overnight and keep them out of reach of children or pets.

Water your tree: Your Christmas tree can also pose a threat. A lack of water can dry out your tree, resulting in a serious fire hazard. Be sure your tree has adequate amounts of water during the holidays.

Tip 4 - Kennel Your Dog

Find a safe place for your dog if it doesn't do well with visitors or small children. The CDC notes that 4.5 million Americans suffer from dog bites each year. Small children are particularly susceptible because they don't always know not to make sudden movements or poke fingers and hands at dogs' faces.

Tip 5 - Be Smart in the Kitchen

There are two things to take into consideration when preparing for a holiday meal. First, be sure to safely prepare your food. Always cook chicken and turkey until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. This will destroy all bacteria and foodborne illnesses and prevent your guests from getting sick. Second, never leave your kitchen unattended while in use. The American Red Cross found that cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires and related injuries.

Tip 6 - Prevent Drunk Driving

If you have spare bedrooms, offer the additional space to guests. You can also prevent over indulgence by limiting the amount of alcohol served during your holiday gatherings.


There are many other ways to ensure that your holidays are safe and fun, but these are just a few of the essential tips that will prevent a holiday disaster.

Andrea Davis is the editor for HomeAdvisor, which helps homeowners find home improvement professionals in their area at no charge to ensure the best service in the shortest amount of time.

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