It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Multi-colored lights, silver bells, gold ornaments, red noses, and bright, shiny new stuff everywhere. And the smells…freshly baked cookies, spiced cider, evergreen trees, and balsam wreaths. Christmas carols from classic to contemporary fill the airwaves and shopping malls. People rushing here and there all while being in good cheer (hopefully!) It’s a sensory overload, but most of us love the Christmas season.
Christmas can sometimes be so all-consuming that we forget to be cautious when we’re out enjoying the seasonal delights. From shopping to caroling, to attending plays and parties, we must remember to be aware of our surroundings and consider some basic safety skills.
Here are a few tips to help keep you, your loved ones, and your newly-purchased treasures safe and secure this holiday season:
1. It’s been in the news that people are stealing delivered packages right off of doorsteps. A couple of ways you can protect your packages are by requiring a signature for delivery or having your parcel delivered to your work place or a trusted friend or family member’s home.
2. Know your surroundings. Park in a lit area and take note of where you parked. Take a look at the people around you. This applies once you’re inside a building as well. We recently had an incident in Nashville where a woman and her daughter were followed throughout a Target store right up to the checkout line. When they saw the man lingering at the exit, they notified management and security and were escorted safely to their car.
3. Go with your gut! If something feels off, tune in to that internal alert and take action. You may need to re-route yourself, go back to a safer area, or simply walk away.
4. Make certain your purchases, phones, handbags, laptop bags, cash etc. are out-of-sight in your vehicle. Never assume something isn’t worth stealing! Lock your car doors.
5. Walk with your head up and your keys out. Don’t wait until you get to your car to fish your keys out of your bag. Have them in your hand and ready to unlock your vehicle.
6. Put away the cell phone when you’re in a parking lot. It’s unsafe for a lot of reasons, one of them being it makes you an easy target because you’re not paying attention to who’s around you. Finish your call or text prior to walking out of the building and walk with confidence to your vehicle.
Christmas can sometimes be so all-consuming that we forget to be cautious when we’re out enjoying the seasonal delights.
7. Go with one or more people as often as possible. There really is safety in numbers.
8. Avoid wearing excessive expensive jewelry when shopping.
9. Don’t carry large amounts of cash, and keep your cash in your front pocket or securely tucked into your closed handbag. Don’t walk around with your handbag open!
10. Throughout the holidays many stores stay open much later at night or even 24 hours, making it tempting to postpone shopping until later in the evening. Avoid procrastinating and go during the day or early evening as much as possible.
11. Unload your car when you get home. Leaving your purchases in your vehicle, even at home, can potentially lead to a very un-merry Christmas.
12. When shopping online, checking out as a guest is a better option since typically less of your personal information is stored on the company’s server.
13. Keep a watch on your bank and credit card accounts so that you can catch any fraudulent charges quickly.
By taking a few minutes to be situationally aware, intentionally cautious, and thoughtfully vigilant, you will have a much greater chance of avoiding trouble while taking in all the sights, smells, sounds, and shopping of the season!
More tips for the holiday season: 5 Tips for Enjoying Your Holiday in the Midst of Get-Togethers, 13 Affordable Christmas Presents That You’ll Want to Keep!, ‘Tis the Season to Feel (Really) Single, and 5 Tips for Careful Spending This Christmas