With all the decorations, cooking and parties happening in December, the chances of an accident - whether it's electrical, fire or security related - are increased, so how do you keep you and your home safe over Christmas?

1. Don't post your travel plans on social media

If you're planning on going on holiday - whether it's to stay with family or friends or heading abroad for some winter sunshine - then don't post your plans online. Never post where you're going, when you're leaving, or when you'll be back. This is prime information for a potential thief because they'll know when your house or flat will be empty. Even if your social media profiles are private, someone in your connections could screenshot your status and share it with someone else.

2. Double-check your fairy lights

Christmas wouldn't be the same without twinkling fairy lights, but they can pose a serious electrical safety risk. Before you plug your lights in, check none are damaged or broken and there are no loose wires. Keep lights away from flammable decorations and materials that can burn easily.

Switch your lights off and unplug them before you go to bed or go out - it might sound obvious, but 1 in 12 people confess to leaving their Christmas lights on overnight!

3. Stay safe in the kitchen

Before you cook up a festive feast over the holidays, make sure you thoroughly scrub your oven and grill - a build up of grease and fat is a major cause of fires.

With a house full of family and friends, it's easy to get distracted, but never walk away and leave cooking unattended. This is especially important if you're having a midnight snack after coming home from the pub when you're full of Christmas spirit!

Test your smoke alarm regularly to make sure it's working properly.


4. Ask your neighbour for a favour

If you're going on holiday over Christmas then let a trusted neighbour know. They can keep an eye on your home to make sure there are no security or maintenance problems.

You should also let your landlord or letting agent know if you're going to leave the property empty - we have a blog post about this with more essential advice.

5. Keep your Christmas gifts out of sight

While a decorated tree surrounded by wrapped presents is a lovely sight on Christmas morning, it's also an inviting image for burglars as well. If possible, put your Christmas tree and presents somewhere away from windows so it's out of view. This is important after you've opened your presents as well - keep your new electronics and other expensive items out of view!

6. Don't overload sockets

With people cooking, watching Christmas films, playing new video games and getting ready for nights out, more electrical items than ever will be plugged in. As well as being scary for your electricity bill, if not managed properly, this could lead to house fires. If you're getting ready for your Christmas party, double-check you've switched off and put your hair straighteners away before you leave.

Don't overload sockets and try to avoid using extension leads - if you have to, make sure they're kept away from where people are walking and could trip over them, especially after a few glasses of fizz!

Electrical Safety First have a 'socket calculator' to help you check you aren't overloading sockets and risking a fire.