The holidays are a time of cheer and giving, but those warm fuzzy feelings aren’t good reasons to forget basic security. In fact, with a house filled to the brim with expensive presents and the whole family enjoying an extra helping of eggnog, there’s no better time to step up your security game.
Regarding presents, as picturesque as they may seem, it’s not wise to display all your gifts under the tree in front of the bay window or in an equally obvious spot. Burglars may see this as an invitation, or at least promise of a large reward if they can simply access that one spot by smashing through a window. It’s also not the best choice to store presents in the garage – which is often the weakest entry point of any home. Keep gifts under wraps by storing them in an upstairs closet, guest bedroom, or even the basement. For decorative purposes, a few less expensive gifts wrapped with large bows and bright paper will do the trick. Hiding gifts has an added bonus, too: it doubles the effect and surprise at the tree bursting with presents come Christmas morning!
After the holidays have passed, make sure to fully break down boxes before tossing them in the trash. Visible TV, iPad, and laptop boxes read like advertisements to burglars looking for a guaranteed score!
The holidays are also time for travel, and whether you will be heading out before, after, or during the actual holiday, you should still remember basic security guidelines. For one, ask a neighbor to pick up all newspapers and mail each day, including expensive gifts that may be delivered (this is where tracking packages becomes necessary!). If it snows, request that neighbor drive their car through your driveway to better give the appearance that you’re in and out of the home. Set a few lights, including your decorative holiday ones, as well as the TV on timers to more convincingly look as if a person is switching these appliances on and off. Double check that all doors and windows are shut before leaving, and ensure that your home security system is on with all automated devices working properly. Ideally, homeowners should have some version of an automated home security system, such as the ADT alarm system or similarly smartphone connected products, to allow easier monitoring of the home while away. If you’re still lacking in the alarms and security camera area, you might want to add those products to your gift list!
Giving and sharing is a huge part of the holidays, a fact that many will insist is the true spirit of the season. While this is undoubtedly admirable, and everyone should increase their well-intentioned gifts and donations, be wary of exactly where your money is going. Trusted and well-known sources, such as your local mall’s giving tree, Unicef, Red Cross, and others, are all viable options to give time, gifts or funds (click here for a list of dependable foundations and charities). Unfortunately there are those looking to abuse others’ generosity, so door to door fundraisers may be less dependable. Ask thorough questions as to where a door to door charity will be sending your money, what they have for credentials, and how you can confirm who they are. Don’t trust charities which refuse to take cash and will settle only for a minimum donation. It’s better to give through a source you’re sure of than give to someone who may or may not be channeling your money to its desired purpose or, worse, is merely a thief checking if you’re home. If you’re not convinced, don’t give, and instead donate to a more reputable charity.
The holidays are a wonderful time for family and friends both, and that fact should never be forgotten. Of course, the season can be better enjoyed knowing those very friends and family are being both smart and safe with their holiday habits!