Tips For Avoiding These Common Holiday House Hazards

The holiday season can be both the most magical and exciting time of year, as well as incredibly anxiety-inducing for a multitude of reasons. Notably, an American Psychological Association survey revealed that 38% of people reported increased stress during this time of year, per U.S. News & World Reports

While most major stressors are related to finances, it's far from the only source of increased tensions. Aside from difficult travel arrangements, last-minute gift shopping, and preparing your home for holiday guests, something as simple as maintaining your home's exterior decorations can be a major source of panic. Even a string of exterior Christmas lights can be troublesome. Plus, if you're ordering gifts and party supplies from online retailers, you also have to worry about keeping track of your orders, arrivals, and making sure no one snatches your parcels before you get to them.

To that end, make the holidays a little less stressful for yourself this year by learning how to tackle two specific problems. They may not seem large in the grand scheme of things, but handling them can make all the difference, resulting in a smooth, painless holiday celebration.

Christmas light fires

You've likely heard it said that string lights, whether strung around a tree or along the eaves of your roof, are one of the more dangerous elements of decorating for the holidays. While that may have been true at some point, the bulbs themselves aren't so much a cause for concern anymore. According to BluSky, cooking your holiday dinner is more likely to start a fire than your décor. In fact, the wiring is what's more problematic than the actual lights, many of which are now LED and cool to the touch.

While string lights may not be the primary cause of holiday fires, that doesn't mean you should ignore the possibility. The issue largely lies in extension cords, daisy chaining, and potential short circuits, which can lead to sparks and electrical fires. To that end, one of the more obvious ways to prevent electrical fires is to choose sets that are specifically marketed for outdoor use. You also should never connect or daisy chain more than three individual sets. Finally, pay careful attention to the wattage of your extension cables, and make sure you don't overload them with too many plug-ins. It's also recommended that you unplug your lights during the day to prevent the extension cable from overheating.

Package thieves

Another major issue you'll likely need to prepare for before the holidays is thieves. While people will swipe items from your porch anytime of year, it's especially prevalent around the holiday season — so much so that they've been given a name: porch pirates (via Prevent Package Theft).

One way to prevent porch pirates from getting their hands on your holiday goods is to always select the tracking services offered at checkout when online shopping. Some retailers like Amazon automatically come with tracking, but others may require a small additional fee. The money is worth it in the long run, though, as the tracking service helps you know when to expect the parcel, getting it inside before anyone can grab it for themselves. A doorbell camera can also help you identify porch pirates, as authorities have very little to go off of without evidence. The footage can also help build a case if you ask for a replacement from the retailer. Another option is to get packages delivered to the post office, your job, or an Amazon Locker — or you can purchase your own package drop box.