We’re counting down to Christmas with tips to keep you safe and secure. We’ve gathered 24 Ho-Ho-Home security and festive fire safety tips into our Christmas Countdown to help you in the run up to the big day.

1 Freshly Festive

If you’re getting a real Christmas tree, choose a fresh one. Check the trees and choose one with a strong green colour that is noticeably fragrant. When you tap the tree on the ground, only a few needs should drop. These tips are not only to give you less vacuuming and a room that smells like Christmas! They all indicated a fresher tree. A fresher tree has a higher moisture content making it more fire retardant.

2 Christmas lights at the windows

Are you putting Christmas lights up on the outside of your house? Avoid the temptation to thread them through a partially open window. Leaving a window open gives burglars an easy way in. Make sure you can properly close and lock your doors and windows.

3 Light up your security

Research shows that burglars avoid more secure homes. Highlight your home security with a backlit bell box. Ask about upgrading yours on your next service.

4 Oh! Christmas Tree

Where will you be putting your Christmas tree? This might be something of a debate in your house. Or does your tree always go in the same room? It’s worth taking a moment to check the location of your tree isn’t compromising your safety. Make sure it’s not to close to a fire or other heat source, and that it’s not blocking your exit from the room.

5 Christmas Overload

Lots of Christmas decorations are electrical, and if you’re reusing lights you’ve had for a while it’s always good idea to check them for damage before putting them up. Take care not to overload your plug sockets, as this can be a fire risk.

6 Test your fire alarm

Make sure your fire alarm, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms are working as they should with a regularly test. Home smoke alarms have a labelled ” test” button which you simply push to test.

7 Secret Santa

Keep those gifts a secret! Beware of oversharing on social media. Posting details about gifts you’ve bought could make your home a target for home burglary.

8 Set your house alarm

Tis the season to set your house alarm. Always set your house alarm. This means setting it at night when you go to bed, and during the day when you’re out at work or doing Christmas shopping. Smart alarms can notify you to an activation, and a ringing alarm should scare off an intruder as it makes so much noise and attracts attention.

9 Bad Santa? Beware Christmas Fraud

Incidents of fraud peaked during lockdowns in recent years. Whilst they have begun to wane, it’s still advisable to be on your guard for Christmas scams. Avoid clicking links you’re sent and don’t hand over personal information or bank details. Be wary of online shops you’ve never heard of and “too good to be true” offers. Remind vulnerable neighbours or family members to be wary of fraud.

10 No peaking!

Most parents have a secret present stash to keep them out of sight of children. It’s worth keeping presents under wraps even if you don’t have kids in the house. Avoid leaving expensive gifts or piles of boxes near your windows or doors. They can be too tempting for opportunists. Some people store them in outbuildings such as a garage or a shed. Wherever you’re keeping your Christmas presents, make sure they are out of site and the building they’re in is secure.

11 Use CCTV to protect your home

Crime typically spikes during winter months, so it’s important to protect your home. CCTV is one of the leading home security solutions available. Using cameras that have great night time images is important to make them as effective as possible for dark winter nights. And who knows, you might even catch Santa on your CCTV!

12 Christmas Countdown: Candle Safety

Keep candles away from flammable objects – including your Christmas tree. There are some dangerous videos circulating recommending using candles in unorthodox ways to heat your home. These have prompted fire services to issue warnings to the public. Many people use candles as festive decorations or light one each day as part of a Christmas countdown. If you’re using candles this Christmas be extra cautious about where you place them. Christmas and winter time living rooms are full of flammable objects including blankets, furniture and Christmas trees. If you’re a centre-piece ensure they’re well away from the edge of a table and always out of reach of children. Never leave a candle burning when you’re not in the room.

13 Stay fresh in the countdown to Christmas

Choosing a fresh tree ensures your tree starts off the season with a high moisture content. Remember to regularly water your Christmas tree to keep the moisture levels up as you countdown to Christmas. A hotter house will dry the tree out sooner, so if your heating is on you may need to top up the water more often.

14 Christmas Lights

The rising cost of energy has made people more conscious of switching off their lights. However a dark house looks empty and more appealing to burglars. The police and neighbourhood watch schemes often suggest you do leave a light on, or use timers on lights, so it looks like somebody’s at home.

15 Keep your doors and windows locked

It’s important to lock your door to avoid opportunists just sneaking in to grab keys, purses or shopping bags left by the door. This video has more tips to avoid sneak in theft.

16 Don’t leave packaging outside

Dispose of packaging carefully. Empty boxes outside your house are advertising your new goods to thieves. Boxes hold clues to what new gadgets and gizmos are now in your house. Leaving a stack of branded or labelled boxes outside by the recycling bin tells burglars exactly what they can find in your home, and could make your house particularly appealing to criminals. Order parcels to collection points to avoid a missing parcel scenario.

17 Post pone the #outout post

Take care with what you share online. Checking in and sharing your location widely can flag up that your house is empty. Save those photos and post them later, after the event, when you’re home.

18 Smart Ho-ho-home

Use a smart home security system to protect your home. Research tells us that thieves avoid a “connected” home. A smart system has extra benefits – giving you control of your security even when you’re away from home.

19 Use outdoor lighting to deter burglars

Outdoor lighting lights up an area to prevent criminals creeping around in the shadows. Lights on sensors switch on automatically when there is movement in an area. They can attracts attention and deter criminals. Be wary of using outdoor lighting alongside CCTV as it can affect the image quality. Speak to your installer to ensure the best coverage.

20 Keep up to date

Anyone with a monitored intruder alarm system has a nominated list of key holders. If your circumstances change you can easily update these with us on keyholders@keybury.co.uk. Sometimes, people need to amend their keyholders temporarily. For example, if someone on your list will be away over the Christmas period, you might want to nominate another keyholder to be alerted in the event of an alarm activation.

21 Keep an eye on what’s cooking

What’s your favourite festive food? Do you have any traditions in your Christmas countdown, such as having a mince pie when you put your tree up, or a slice of cheese with Christmas cake on Christmas eve? It’s easy to get distracted with so much happening so take extra care when cooking this festive season. Keep a close eye on what’s cooking to reduce the risk of accidental fires starting in the kitchen.

22 Santa’s Key

Do you leave a key out for santa? There are lots of variations on this, and you can find magic keys for santa in lots of shops at this time of year. Whilst Santa’s magic key is safe to leave out, don’t leave your own key out for anyone. Leaving a key under the doormat can seem convenient, but it is putting your home security at risk.

23 Set your house alarm at night

Always set your house alarm at night. You can even set your house alarm on Christmas eve – Santa won’t set it off! Anyone else entering your house would activate your alarm so you’d be instantly alerted to the break in. As well as setting your house alarm when you go out, set it at bedtime too.

24 Relax over Christmas

Keybury’s customers can relax during the countdown to Christmas and over the festive period. Our team are on call throughout the festive season so you can call us if you need us. Access to our 24 hour call out service is included as standard with Keybury Maintenance Cover.