Your home is at its best when it’s shining with holiday decorations and filled with your loved ones, friends and neighbors. Sharing the warmth and hospitality of your home should be some of the merriest and most memorable moments of the year.
But many of the special things you do to make the holiday joyful may also expose you to some unwelcome risks. You may be buying provisions or gifts at new shops or online sites. Several helpers may be preparing your home for holiday entertaining. Furniture may be moved to accommodate the tree and extra seating. Floor space and counters may be more crowded–and merrymaking guests less cautious. A “Ho Ho Uh-oh” can easily happen.
Fortunately, a few smart precautions can help safeguard your home and family from the most common holiday problems. These easy steps can go a long way to keeping your holidays joyful – and your family and guests safe and sound.
1. Be Sure You’re Well-Covered.
What if a neighborhood teen is injured shoveling your sidewalk – or klutzy Cousin Eddie tips over the ladder putting up the lights? It’s particularly important to make sure your household insurance policy is up-to-date and you’re fully covered when holiday helpers and guests visit. Check your policy or give your agent a call.
2. Better Safe Than Sorry.
You may have rearranged your furniture to make room for the tree and added seating. When it’s all in place, do a walk-through to be sure there’s safe clearance for guests to move around — and consider duct-taping down the edges of rugs that could be tripping hazards. Carefully inspect your older wiring and cords for dangerous frays and cracks. If too many cords are being grouped in one outlet, run an extension cord to another outlet or rearrange some appliances to avoid overloading the circuit.
3. Sign Santa’s Helpers on the Dotted Line.
You may employ a few extra helpers — for instance, a carpet cleaning service, serving or seating rentals, catering or other holiday services. Be sure to get a written contract or signed estimate that clearly states what they will do and when, as well as all costs. If one of your helper elves doesn’t offer a contract, you can use one of Rocket Lawyer’s step-by-step service contracts. Keep your receipts for all purchases until you’re sure everything has been delivered in good order–and best to use a credit card with purchase protection rather than a debit card or cash just in case.
4. Keep Your Holiday Spirits Bright.
A little brandy in the eggnog can warm the holiday atmosphere… but too much can lead to problems and the party-giver may be liable. It’s wise to limit the time alcohol is served and switch to coffee well before the party is over. Serving food is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser and helps moderate the effects of alcoholic drinks. Even so, it’s wise to coordinate designated drivers in advance and offer taxicabs to protect everyone’s safety. Moderation is also very good advice for yourself when attending other business and family parties.
5. Make the New Year a Season of Good Will.
Although the holiday season is already busy, your first resolution for the New Year should be bringing your will and other vital family documents up-to-date. Rocket Lawyer makes it easy to create a will for your family and to consult a local attorney with any questions. Learn more at our Estate Planning Center.
All of us at Rocket Lawyer wish you and your loved ones the happiest of seasons and a successful year ahead.
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