The holiday season is a time for celebration, relaxation, and spending quality time with family and loved ones. However, it’s also a time of increased risk for accidents at home, unsafe situations with the kids or pets, or, if you leave for the holidays, burglaries. By taking precautions and implementing safety measures, you can ensure a happy and secure holiday season. We reached out to the experts to gather their advice on how to implement safety tips to make the most of this holiday season.

Home surveillance

Securing your home is crucial to protect your property and belongings from potential burglars during this season. One of the most effective safety tips to deter intruders is to install a home surveillance system. Consider what surveillance system would work best for your needs, wired or wireless, indoor and/or outdoor.

What’s the best way to set up and position smart cameras to cover important areas of your property during holiday events?

“Setting up smart security cameras around your home is a great way to protect your property and provide you with peace of mind during the busy holiday season. With flurries of guests and deliveries, it’s important to set up cameras properly and in the right position to be the most effective.

The best way to position smart cameras is for them to face the entrances of your home. For example, position a camera to cover your front porch where guests are coming in and out, and packages are being delivered. Leading smart cameras have features like person, package, and pet detection that will notify you via a smartphone app anytime there is an activity in front of the camera. Make sure to angle the camera so it can catch people approaching and entering your home, as well as packages left on the ground. For those worried about deployment, seek out smart security cameras that are wireless and can be easily installed anywhere on your property. Keep this in mind when choosing where to place your camera(s) – The options are endless. Don’t forget to set up smart security cameras to cover your back door and/or garage as well for extra protection and peace of mind.”

Chris Carney from Abode

What features should I look for in a security camera system to best protect my property during the holidays?

“For the most comprehensive protection of your property during the holidays, consider key features that prioritize uninterrupted and hassle-free surveillance. Opt for security cameras that operate without a Wi-Fi connection, instead relying on 4G-LTE cellular connectivity. This feature ensures that your cameras remain functional even in areas with poor or no Wi-Fi coverage, granting you constant access to live feeds and recordings. 

Furthermore, select cameras that are powered by solar energy through either built-in or external solar panels. These eco-friendly and cost-effective solutions eliminate the need for power cords, making installation more flexible and reducing the risk of power outages. Solar-powered cameras operate autonomously, ensuring they stay active even in the event of power cuts, guaranteeing uninterrupted security.

In addition to these features, it’s essential to invest in weather-resistant cameras that can endure harsh weather conditions, whether it’s heavy snowfall, rain, or cold. These rugged cameras are built to withstand the challenges of the winter season, providing you with a robust and reliable security system. By combining these features – 4G-LTE connectivity, solar power, autonomy, and weather resistance – you can rest assured that your property will be well-protected throughout the holiday season, no matter the weather or connectivity issues that may arise.”

Pierre Charrière from Vosker

V300 Ultimate Winter
Image by Vosker | V300 Ultimate Winter

Are there specific security measures to protect my home during extended holiday vacations?

“Yes, there are a number of measures to protect against intrusions during extended holidays. A prominently displayed home security sign from a reputable company is the first line of defense. Intruders are often looking for their path of least resistance. If your home has a security sign, your home now poses more risk to intruders than homes without one. 

Second, prominently displayed exterior cameras or video doorbells put would-be intruders on notice that their actions are being recorded. Neither signs nor cameras will ensure deterrence, but having these items does increase the perceived difficulty of intruding. 

Third, consider adding some smart home products to keep intruders guessing. The more confident an intruder is about occupancy and schedule, the lower their perceived risk. Smart lighting, voice assistants with speakers, and other smart home gadgets can be programmed on varied schedules to mimic occupancy and cast doubt on a reliable time to intrude. 

Lastly, should an intruder still proceed, an active home security system inside the home with professional monitoring is likely to detect the event, deter the intruder from further pursuing their plan, and dispatch police to handle the matter in your stead.”

Ryan McCall from Scout

How can I remotely monitor my security cameras to keep an eye on holiday deliveries?

“To remotely monitor your security cameras and keep an eye on holiday deliveries, you can leverage the advanced capabilities of security cameras by CCTV Camera World, which allows for easy and convenient remote viewing. Here’s how our products stand out and can offer you peace of mind during the holiday season:

  • Remote Viewing: Our security cameras can be accessed remotely through iOS and Android smartphones, PCs, or Macs. The compatibility with various devices means you can monitor your home deliveries from anywhere.

  • – Free Apps and Software: You don’t have to worry about additional costs for applications or software to view your camera feed remotely. We provide these for free, ensuring you have access to your security system without extra expenses.

– Smart Motion Detection (SMD): Unlike traditional video motion detection that may trigger false alarms due to minor disturbances, our cameras come equipped with Smart Motion Detection technology. SMD is a game-changer in reducing false alerts because it uses advanced AI to distinguish between human bodies and vehicles versus animals, leaves, and other non-relevant movements. This means you get notified only for the events that matter, like when your holiday packages arrive.

  • – Ease of Setup: Despite the high-tech features, our security cameras are designed to be user-friendly and easy to set up. You don’t need to be tech-savvy to get your system running and start monitoring your deliveries.

– No subscription costs: We sell professional security products that you own, and there are no subscription costs for you to continue using the system you purchased.

With these advanced features, our products not only allow you to remotely monitor your property for security but also offer the convenience and assurance that you will be alerted only when there are actual deliveries or significant events, thanks to the Smart Motion Detection technology. This sets our products apart from the competition and ensures that your holiday season is hassle-free when it comes to home security and package deliveries.”

Ray Ansari from CCTV Camera World

Hosting safe holiday parties

Hosting a holiday party should be one of the most enjoyable moments of the year. However, it’s essential to make sure your loved ones, guests, and your home are always safe.

Christmas decorations

Christmas decorations are a fun and festive way to illuminate your home during the holiday season. When decorating, ensure that the lights you use are certified and are in good working condition.

Party planning

To host a safe party, proper planning is essential. Here are some important safety tips to consider:

  • Create a guest list: Keep track of the number of guests and make sure you don’t exceed the maximum capacity of your home
  • Menu planning: Consider providing food options for guests with dietary restrictions
  • Decorations: Avoid using flammable decorations, and make sure all cords and wires are safely secured and out of the way

Safety measures

While planning your party, there are several safety measures you can take to ensure your guests’ well-being:

  • Designate a sober driver: Encourage guests to plan ahead and have a designated driver or offer to call a rideshare service for them
  • First-aid kit: Have a well-stocked first-aid kit on hand in case of accidents or injuries
  • Clear pathways: Remove any hazards or obstacles that may cause guests to trip or fall
  • Fire safety: Make sure smoke detectors are working properly, and keep a fire extinguisher nearby

How can I avoid overloading electrical circuits when setting up holiday decorations?

“Move over pumpkin spice, and bring on the hot chocolate, as the holiday season is upon us! For many, that means they are dusting off the decorations from the garage and decking the halls, and their homes, with festive lights and holiday displays. However, before you take it to the extreme like Clark Griswold, it’s crucial to ensure you don’t overload your electrical panel and circuits while setting up your holiday extravaganza. An overloaded circuit can lead to electrical fires, power outages, and other safety hazards. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered as we put together some helpful tips to help you enjoy a safe and cheerful holiday season:

  1. Know your circuit capacity: Start by understanding the electrical capacity of your circuits. Typically, a standard 15-amp circuit found in most homes can handle around 1,800 watts, while a 20-amp circuit can manage up to 2,400 watts. We recommend setting up an annual health check for your electrical system to help address any potential issues and avoid exceeding these limits.
  2. Use LED lights: LED holiday lights are more energy-efficient and produce less heat than traditional incandescent bulbs. They are not only safer but also allow you to connect more strings together without overloading the circuits.
  3. Use outdoor-rated extension cords: When extending your decorations outdoors, make sure to use outdoor-rated extension cords designed for wet conditions. Ensure they are in good condition and free from damage.
  4. Don’t daisy-chain too many connections: Avoid plugging too many extension cords and decorations into a single outlet. Use power strips with built-in surge protection and overload protection for added safety.
  5. Turn off decorations when not in use: Unplug or turn off your holiday decorations when you’re not around or when you go to bed to prevent any potential issues from developing.

By following these simple guidelines, you can enjoy a beautifully decorated home during the holidays without overloading your electrical circuits and compromising safety. If you are unsure of the safety of your system, consider having a trained electrician, like those at Bonney Plumbing, Sewer, Electrical, Heating, and Air, perform an annual maintenance to ensure you are ready for the holiday surge of power. Prioritizing safety ensures that you and your loved ones can celebrate the season with peace of mind.

Jennie Park from Bonney Plumbing, Sewer, Electrical, Heating, and Air

What are some common electrical hazards that families should be aware of during gatherings?

“Common electrical hazards include overloading your electrical system. Be sure to label your circuit breakers to understand the different circuits in your home. You can reduce your electrical load by using energy-efficient appliances and LED light bulbs, and you can also have a qualified electrician install new circuits for high-energy use devices.

Another hazard is improperly using extension cords. Roughly 3,300 home fires originate in extension cords each year, killing 50 people and injuring 270 more. Extension cords can overheat and cause fires when used improperly. Do not plug extension cords together or overload cords with too many devices. Be sure to inspect cords for damage before use. Check for cracked or frayed sockets, loose or bare wires, and loose connections. Also, never run extension cords under carpets, rugs, or doors.

If you notice any of the following signs, contact a qualified electrician to inspect your home, as these are warning signs of an overloaded electrical system:

  • Frequent tripping of circuit breakers or blowing of fuses
  • Dimming of lights when other devices are turned on
  • Buzzing sound from switches or outlets
  • Discolored outlets
  • Appliances that seem underpowered

It’s recommended to have your home inspected if it’s older than 40 years old, has had a major appliance installed, or if you’re interested in installing new technology, such as charging your electric vehicle at home. Each year, electrical malfunctions account for 35,000 home fires, causing over 1,130 injuries, 500 deaths, and $1.4 billion in property damage. Many electrocutions and home fires can be prevented simply by understanding basic electrical safety principles and adhering to safe practices. ESFI welcomes the public to utilize our free-to-share materials throughout their communities.”

Electrical Safety Foundation 

Can you share tips on the best ways to incorporate smart or connected lighting into holiday decorating for convenience and control?

“My favorite part of home holiday décor is festive lighting, and smart home tech can simplify a process that is often time-consuming and confusing for homeowners. Smart lighting controls allow homeowners to turn on their holiday twinkle lights through their cell phones before they get home. These capabilities help homeowners who are on the go to have more control over their home tech no matter their location. Smart lighting companies have smart plugs and timers that allow homeowners to schedule when the lights will turn on and off throughout the day to ensure the house is still festive while avoiding a hefty electric bill from wasted energy.

Smart lighting controls can elevate any mood lighting when decorating for the holidays. Homeowners can set a festive ambiance with smart mood lighting capabilities that can be easily adjusted for any holiday activity, from baking cookies to family dinners and more. Innovative tech solutions help streamline home lighting to make it a lot easier and a lot more fun to decorate for the holidays.”

Kristin Glandon, Interior Designer, and Deako Home Design Expert

What are recommended strategies for involving family members in the process of creating and upholding holiday party rules to create a sense of collective responsibility?

The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration, and connection. However, amidst the festive spirit, it’s crucial to ensure our homes remain safe and welcoming for everyone. 

Creating a Welcoming and Safe Environment 

Your goal as a host is to create a warm and inclusive environment. Be attentive to your guests’ needs and ensure everyone feels comfortable and respected. Offer non-alcoholic drink options and have a plan in place for guests who may need assistance getting home safely.  

The holiday season is a time for joy, not worry. By taking these simple precautions, you can ensure your home remains a haven for all your festive gatherings. Let’s make this holiday season not just merry but also safe and inclusive for everyone. 

Alcohol-Free Celebrations 

Contrary to popular belief, alcohol isn’t a necessity for a memorable party. Embracing alcohol-free celebrations can promote inclusivity and well-being. Offer a variety of creative non-alcoholic beverages, like mocktails or festive punches, that are both delicious and fun. Incorporate games, music, and storytelling to connect and create lasting memories without the need for alcohol. Instead, opt for Biltmore Hotel’s Mocktail for Red Ribbon to recreate at home!

informed families

Informed Families 

Christmas tree care 

“First, make sure you select a tree that looks healthy and has good green color. Avoid selecting one that has dried-out branches or parts of branches that are damaged. Make sure the needles are flexible, not brittle. Fun a finger along the branch from the tip inward. If needles fall off, find a different tree. Also, if the tree has little fragrance, it’s too dried out.

Before putting the tree in its base, slice about a half-inch off the bottom of the trunk to open up the pores so the tree can absorb water.

Christmas trees are thirsty plants. The tree will absorb a lot of water in the first few days. After that, you will need to water the tree every two to three days while it’s being displayed. Never let it dry out. Instead, keep the base of the tree submerged in water at all times.

Keep your tree away from heat sources like heating vents and fireplaces, both for safety and to keep the tree from drying out. A Christmas tree prefers a cool room away from direct sunlight.

Make sure to recycle your tree when the holidays are over.”

Beverly Hurley at Triangle Gardener

What is your best advice for streamlining holiday preparations to reduce stress and save both time and money?

  1. “Streamlining holiday preparations is vital for reducing stress and saving both time and money. To achieve this, focus on three key aspects: allocating time for families, ensuring personal time, and incorporating cost-saving and energy-efficient measures.

    Firstly, establish a well-organized holiday schedule that prioritizes family activities. Whether it’s movie nights, baking sessions, or game nights, having dedicated moments for family bonding can enhance the joy of the season.
    Secondly, safeguard personal well-being by scheduling moments for self-care. Amid the festive chaos, allocate time for activities that bring personal joy, such as reading, taking a quiet walk, or engaging in a favorite hobby. Balancing family time with personal time is crucial for maintaining overall well-being.
    To save money and promote energy efficiency, utilize timers for holiday lights. This not only reduces electricity costs but also ensures lights are on only when needed. Opt for energy-efficient decorations, like LED lights, and unplug decorations when not in use. Embrace do-it-yourself (DIY) crafts for personalized and cost-effective holiday decor, adding a unique touch to celebrations.

    By incorporating these strategies, you can streamline holiday preparations, create memorable family moments, prioritize personal well-being, and save both time and money through energy-efficient practices.”

Kathy from Mrs. Kathy King

Can you provide suggestions for enjoyable and safe activities that families can engage in during the holiday season?

“There are so many fun and safe activities for families to enjoy over the holidays! Going on a self-led Christmas lights tour tops our list. For anyone living in the Chicago area, Kidlist creates a list of the Best Christmas Lights with Driving Routes each year so you can go on your own tour. Some of the homes are synchronized to music so you can tune in on your car radio, and others invite families to walk through their displays. Volunteering as a family is a wonderful way to spend time together and help others at the same time! Many organizations welcome kids to volunteer along with adults doing everything from sorting supplies at a food pantry to decorating duffle bags for foster children. Families can enjoy old-fashioned fun by taking a horse-drawn carriage or trolley ride in a downtown area. Finally, there are even great ways for families to celebrate New Year’s Eve together. Noon Year’s Eve parties are becoming increasingly popular, where the countdown is planned around noon with a balloon or confetti drop so younger kids don’t have to stay up late. You can find details for all of these ideas and much more in the Kidlist Holiday Fun Guide.”

Annie from Kidlist

Can you provide tips on safely thawing and handling a turkey to avoid cross-contamination and foodborne illnesses?
“To thaw a frozen turkey, the best practice is to thaw it in the refrigerator in its original wrapping or a leak-proof plastic bag. A good rule of thumb is to plan for about 24 hours of thaw time for every 5 pounds of turkey.
If you don’t have time to thaw the turkey in the refrigerator, you can instead submerge the sealed turkey in cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes until the turkey is thawed. Always use cold water when thawing a turkey using this method. Never leave the turkey sitting in warm or hot water or allow it to thaw on the counter at room temperature. Bacteria grow best in the “temperature danger zone” between 40 – 140 degrees Fahrenheit, and these techniques will cause the outside of the bird to warm up to this bacteria-loving temperature while the inside is still frozen.
Thawing using the microwave isn’t recommended because the size of the turkey will cause it to thaw unevenly; the outside of the turkey can feel very hot, like it’s ready to be cooked, but the inside may still be frozen.
Keep raw turkey separate from any other food while preparing it because it can lead to cross-contamination, where salmonella from the turkey ends up in a salad or other food that you’re not planning to cook. That would be like eating raw turkey – yuck!
Most importantly: use a food thermometer when cooking the turkey to make sure it’s cooked to a perfect 165 degrees Fahrenheit. When checking the temperature, make sure to check it at the deepest, meatiest parts of the bird, like the thickest portion of the breast or the innermost portion of the wing. Move the thermometer around in a couple of places before removing it from the oven, just in case you find a cold spot.”
Ann Kent from Peas & Hoppiness

When considering outdoor holiday lights, what are features to look for that are suitable for different weather conditions?

“First and foremost, you want holiday lights and bulbs that are designed for outdoor weather conditions, whether that’s for non-shade, dampness, rain, or snow. There are damp-rated lights and wet-rated lights, so choose appropriately depending on if they’ll be under a cover and away from the rain. This all also applies to any extension cords or surge protectors you may need to use as well, even if burying them within the piping. These will be built into weather-resistant enclosures designed to deflect water away from areas where water may enter and contact the electronics.


While fairy lights or your typical multi-colored Christmas stringed bulbs will generate negligible heat, keep larger bulbs (even LEDs) away from, or at least separated by a protective barrier, from flammable materials.


It’s a good idea to ensure your lights are plugged into outlets that run through your circuit breaker that specifically contains GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) protection. This should be standard, but if your home is much older, there may be aspects not up to code. As you attach your stringed lights to your roof fascia, window sills, or even trees, make sure you don’t damage the wires. Try using plastic cable ties where possible, as plastic won’t conduct electricity.


Most importantly, don’t attempt to perform any do-it-yourself weatherproofing. It’s far too dangerous, especially when high-quality brands have already spent endless research and development dollars ensuring your safety. Choose from a reliable, well-known company and light your home or business place with a peace of mind.”


Rick Worst from Worstroom


Ways to secure decorations on outdoor structures and trees to prevent accidents in windy conditions

Natural trees can be a bit finicky and hard to predict. For attaching larger or heavier decor to natural trees, we suggest using zip ties and making sure to avoid attaching decor to smaller branches of a tree if it can be avoided. Free standing decor items like large artificial trees up to about 12-15ft, and for large 3D decor pieces, we always recommend using a guy wire system to secure the pieces in place by anchoring them to the ground with stakes that are of the appropriate type and depth for the soil at their installation location. Or anchoring to concrete blocks if being installed on paved or concrete surfaces.For larger commercial artificial trees, you will typically have the ability to anchor them from the inside of the tree frame. We recommend using IBC totes filled with water and placed in the center of the tree. A 330-gallon tote weighs about 2800 lbs when filled with water. REALLY big trees will require more than one. Then use a guy wire system from the top of the tree down to the IBCs on the ground to secure the tree in place.”

Darren Vader from The Christmas Light Emporium

Winter home

Holiday safety tips for your pets

By following the necessary safety tips, you can make sure your furry friends enjoy the holidays safely alongside you.

  • Keep festive decorations out of your pet’s reach
  • Avoid feeding pets holiday treats like chocolate and certain fruits, as they can be harmful
  • Create a quiet, pet-friendly space during gatherings to give them a retreat from the excitement
  • If you’re using candles, place them securely and away from wagging tails
  • Be mindful of the cold weather during walks, and protect your pet with appropriate gear

Best way to prevent pets from chewing on holiday trees, lights, wires, or decorations

Here is a list from Animal Behavior College of holiday pet protection:

  1. Put the tree up in a pet-free room. Use an artificial one or a table tree. Live trees & plants can make pets ill if the needles, tree water, or leaves are ingested. For a live tree, use an Elizabethan collar or foil over the stand & clean up fallen needles.
  2. Keep the tree anchored to a wall & put a fence/pup playpen around it to keep it from falling. Wrap the base with foil to deter cats from climbing. Keep furniture away as they make good launch points.
  3. Pets may see decorations as toys. Do not hang food or tinsel. Keep breakable ornaments at the top, & unbreakables at the bottom.
  4. For lights & wires, get a cord management system and pet-safe cord protectors. Wind close to the center of the tree. Tuck cords away and under a tree skirt. Spray bite deterrents on chewable items. Don’t leave it on when unattended.
  5. Forego ribbons & items that can be swallowed. Watch out for candles, fire hazards, & other dangers to pets at this festive time.
  6. Provide fun toys to play with to redirect their interest in the décor.

Jeanne Wells & Michelle Metzger of Animal Behavior College

How can I protect my pets from holiday decorations like tinsel and ornaments?
When it comes to safeguarding your pets from holiday decorations like tinsel and ornaments, a few simple precautions can go a long way.
  1. Opt for decorations that don’t pose a threat, such as avoiding glass ornaments on the tree. This helps prevent potential harm to your dog, as ingesting them can lead to digestive issues and glass slivers in paw pads.
  2. Stay clear of ornaments made with food, no matter how charming they may seem. While dog treat ornaments may be adorable, they can be too tempting to your furry friends, posing a choking hazard or encouraging them to explore the tree more than you’d like. Instead, focus on pet-friendly decorations that won’t compromise their safety.
  3. Provide a stable tree foundation. Pets might be tempted to climb or bat at low-hanging ornaments, putting themselves and your decorations at risk. A well-balanced tree stand can help prevent accidental toppling, reducing the chances of injuries or damage.
  4. Visually inspect Christmas light cords regularly, as pets sometimes like to chew on them. Make sure the cords are in good condition and tucked away as much as possible, with no visible cracks or chew marks. They can be shock hazards for pets.
Use these tips to create a festive and pet-friendly environment, ensuring that your celebrations are both joyful and secure for every member of the family, including your furry friends.
Clint Howitz from dogIDs

Are there pet-friendly alternatives to traditional ornaments and decorations for Christmas trees?

The holiday season is upon us, and for us at Barkwells, it’s not just about decking the halls but also making sure our furry friends can enjoy the festivities safely. Today, we’re tackling a question close to our hearts: Are there pet-friendly alternatives to traditional ornaments and decorations for Christmas trees?

Why Pet-Friendly Decor?

Traditional Christmas decorations, though beautiful, can pose risks to our pets. Glass ornaments can break, tinsel can be ingested, and wires can be chewed. We want to ensure that our holiday celebrations are safe and enjoyable for every member of the family, including those with tails!

Safe and Stylish Alternatives

  1. Fabric and Felt Ornaments: These soft, lightweight ornaments are perfect for homes with playful paws and wagging tails. They come in various festive designs, and, best of all, they’re unbreakable!
  2. Wooden and Metal Decor: Opt for wooden or metal ornaments without sharp edges. These add a rustic charm to your tree while keeping it pet-friendly.
  3. Edible Decorations: How about decorating your tree with pet-safe treats? Dried apple slices, cranberry garlands, or even homemade dog biscuit ornaments can be a delightful addition. Just be sure they’re hung high enough to avoid temptation!
  4. DIY Creations: Get crafty and create your own pet-safe decorations. Use natural materials like pinecones or make salt dough ornaments (just keep them out of reach of curious mouths).
  5. Avoiding the No-Nos: Steer clear of tinsel, glass, or small decorations that can be easily swallowed. Also, avoid using edible decorations that aren’t pet-friendly, like chocolate or certain nuts.

A Few Extra Tips

  • Secure your Tree: Ensure your Christmas tree is stable and won’t tip over if your pet gets a bit too enthusiastic.
  • Watch the Wires: Keep lights and electric cords out of reach or adequately covered.
  • Regular Check-ups: Regularly check the area around the tree for any fallen ornaments or chewable items.

We believe the holidays can be joyous and safe for our pets. With a little creativity and precaution, your Christmas tree can be a festive centerpiece that’s also pet-friendly.

Jeff Krider from Barkwells, The Ultimate Dog-Centric Vacation Retreat

How can I secure a Christmas tree to prevent it from toppling over if my pets decide to investigate it?

“Christmas is an exciting time of year for our families, including our pets. We have new decorations, great smells, and new people coming around. A big challenge for many with pets is the Christmas tree. The age-old question is, how do I keep my pets from exploring the tree and maybe even causing it to topple over?

There are several ways this can be done. The most common is a pet gate. Surround the tree with a pet gate; if they can’t get in, they can’t knock it down. The only issue with that is if you have cats… Cats can jump right over that gate and explore the tree, and all the ornaments are fun toys. If you have cats, I recommend the ornaments be wired onto the tree securely so they don’t go flying when the cat bats one of them for playtime.

The second option, and if you have cats, maybe even better, is to use a fishing line and wrap it around the tree truck in several places and secure the line to the wall. This way, if the cats jump on the tree, it won’t lean or topple over. It also helps prevent the tree from fainting if the dog decides to use it as a butt and back scratcher. This method won’t protect the presents below, but if the gate around the tree is not the look you are going for, then this might work.

In the event you have a cat who wants to explore the tree and a dog who wants to help open the present before Christmas morning, I might recommend both options together. This way, the cat can’t topple the tree when it jumps the gate (we all know they love to climb). The dog can’t get to the presents to help your children open them early. Most of all, dogs can’t use the lower limbs as a body scratcher.

Any way you decide to try to keep your tree standing all season long is fine. Every family has different challenges, and we all must do what works for us. Just remember to keep the chocolate up high so your dog doesn’t get to it. For those with cats, remember that tinsel is fun to play with but can end up in a tangled mess in the intestines and can cause a blockage. Keep a watchful eye and enjoy the holidays with the two and four-legged family members.”

Cydnei Skaggs from Canine Caviar

What should I do to keep my dog(s) calm and stress-free during noisy holiday gatherings?

The simple answer is simply do not bring your pet to any holiday party or large gathering.

Most dogs do not do well in these types of environments. Even friendly dogs will be highly aroused, which is not good, and in the worst-case scenario, if your dog has underlying anxiety, stress, or fear, this is going to exacerbate it tremendously.

Especially around holidays when new people are coming to your home or yard or during firework events, never take your pets to these environments.

Instead, create a safe room or a Zen room for your pet where your pet can go and get some peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle and all the novel stimuli that has arrived.

Ideally, a Zen room will have some of the following:

  • Dog appeasing pheromone
  • Soft canine classical music or something that is proven to soothe dogs
  • Their favorite treats stuffed in a puzzle or Kong toy
  • Their favorite bedding
  • Their favorite scents
  • Their favorite toys
  • Blackout shades to blackout any of the windows so they can’t get too aroused or stressed by seeing out the windows 
  • Make sure there’s also white noise that drowns out the external sounds in addition to the music you have on for your dog.
  • Consider putting your dog in a crate as well if they don’t have fear or phobia to it
  • Comfortable and soothing lighting and colors for the room
  • If your dog is extremely nervous or fearful, definitely speak with your veterinarian behaviorist prior to the event to consider psychopharmaceuticals
  • There are a number of supplements that can also aid and help a dog relax and soothe their tension.
  • Make sure your dog has fresh water and food in their Zen room as well.

Be sure to check on them frequently and make sure they are okay either through a camera with audio and video or physically.”

Russell Hartstein, CDBC, CPDT from Fun Paw Care

How do I introduce my cat(s) to guests who visit during the holidays to ensure they stay calm and comfortable?

“Introductions to new people should be done in a slow and controlled way. The cat should always be in control of all interactions and have the opportunity to choose to leave the situation if they don’t feel like interacting. Allow the cat to approach your guests and have them offer a finger to sniff. If the cat initiates contact, your guest can likely pet the cat’s cheeks or chin without issue. If the cat doesn’t initiate contact, your guests shouldn’t try to force attention on them. Children should always be supervised when interacting with cats to ensure the interactions are positive and the children are interacting in a safe, appropriate way with the cat to reduce the risk of biting or scratching.

If your cat is particularly anxious or you don’t think your guests will be able to interact with them in a respectful manner, keeping the cats separated with all their basic needs, plenty of stimulation, and out of the way is probably the least stressful choice for all involved.”

Joey Lusvardi, CCBC LSHS-C FFCP from Class Act Cats

Essential safety tips for traveling during the holidays

Traveling during the holiday season can be stressful, especially when it comes to leaving your home unattended.

Here are some essential safety tips to keep your home safe during the holidays:

  • Inform a trusted neighbor to keep an eye on your home surroundings.
  • Secure all entry points
  • Don’t leave a spare key
  • Install a security system
  • Use smart home technology
  • Set up timers for your indoor and outdoor lights, as well as your television and radio, to make it appear as though someone is home.
  • Avoid posting about your vacation plans on social media
How can I ensure that my home appears occupied to deter potential burglars while I’m away?
“There are several ways to ensure that your home appears occupied while you are away. The first and most important is to make it look as if you are still there. APS offers the ability for ZWave controls so that you can turn on/off lights while you are not there to ensure it appears someone is in the house. Having them on timers is great, but depending on how long one is away from home, a true scout of the area might figure something of this nature out.
Another great tip is to have a trusted person stop by periodically, never timed, and enter the house and then exit. Never make the trips the same amount of time or seem like it is a quick errand, i.e., have them water plants, run water in various sinks, or watch 1 episode of their favorite show. If they want to stop by for small increments, make them more frequent. Swing by and put mail in the house as they go run errands, and on the way home, have them swing back by and check the garage area.
If you do not have the means to have someone stop by, that is okay. The goal is to make it appear as if someone is there. Have different lights turned on, so it isn’t always the same ones.
Finally, another alternative is to purchase a doorbell camera for the front door (back, too), along with parameter cameras. APS strongly recommends a mobile camera that has 2way interactions to place in the house while you are gone. You can speak through it, and if someone does enter, you can warn them. I think having a 2way voice camera in one external area is a great deterrence. You can have notifications set up on your mobile device and immediately get on the camera and let them know you have called the cops.
Small items like this will go far in the long run. Not only will it give you piece of mind while you are home, but you can feel much more secure when you leave your beautiful home for an extended period of time to travel the world. Everyone deserves the ability to leave their house and feel safe. They also deserve the ability to check on their house when away and come home to the comfort of their home when they are ready.
Added kicker, your insurance company will give you discounts for having certain security features set up around your parameter and within your house.”
Jared Wasserman, CEO/CFO from Alert Protective Services

By prioritizing home security during the holiday season, you can enjoy a worry-free festive break, knowing that your home and loved ones are safe and secure. From accident and burglary prevention to smart home technology and emergency preparedness, there are many safety tips you can implement to ensure peace of mind.