Holiday Hosting Tips

1 March 2022

Despite our ongoing and never ending battle with Covid, many people are planning on “back to normal” holiday celebrations this year.

Many of us will greet guests with great enthusiasm and may forget some responsibilities as homeowners and/or hosts. The last thing on your mind is an unfortunate accident. Here are some tips to avoid holiday heartache:

  1. Be mindful of serving alcohol:

Celebrations usually involve some amount of alcohol. As a host, you can be held liable for your guests who over indulge and then drive. If you’re having a large gathering, a host liability policy for the evening may be in order. For small gatherings, it is your responsibility to ensure your guests get home safe. Ensure that alternative transportation is available or your guests have designated drivers. Be prepared for an unexpected overnight guest just in case.

  1. Keep your guests safe! Remove slip hazards

Make sure your guests can enter and exit your home safely. Walkways and stairs should be cleared and salted but risks are not exclusive to outside your home. Inside, stairways should be clear, rugs should be removed to avoid slips and stumbles. Falls can be serious with 1 in 5 causing broken bones and head injuries. Property insurance policies can provide some coverage for medical costs associated with a guest’s accidental injury, however, doing everything you can to ensure that both the outside and inside of your home is safe will go a long way in avoiding these situations.

  1. Prepare your pets for holiday guests

For most of us, it’s been some time since we’ve had guests in our home. For our pets, this will seem even longer and more unusual for them. Their behavior can be affected by this long absence of other company. Even the most good-natured pet can become agitated by this increased activity. Accordingly, the risk of dog bites may be higher than usual this year and as the host, you are responsible for your pet’s behavior. Consider leaving your pet in his/her crate or in a separate room away from the festivities. Property policies provide coverage for dog bite liability but there may be exclusions based on breed. Check with your provider to ensure you are properly covered.

  1. Food Preparation

Be mindful of allergies! In our excitement to get together, we may forget that some people have life-threatening allergies. A good host will check with guests prior to the event and prepare food to avoid cross contamination. A trip to the hospital is not the way to end a holiday celebration.

  1. Prevent household fires

Cooking mishaps are the cause of 30% of residential fires normally. During Covid, this statistic increased dramatically. Holiday celebrations can cause serious mishaps with chaffing dishes, fondues, and flambé recipes. Take particular care when cooking.

Holiday decorations can also cause serious fire hazards. Over-extending electrical, unattended candles, and dry Christmas trees can be tragic ends to what should be joyous celebrations. A centrally monitored fire alarm can protect your home while you’re away visiting and limit damage.

Whatever your plans are this holiday season, take a moment to ensure that you, your family and your guests are as safe as possible.

We would like to wish everyone a very happy and safe holiday season!

Debbie Arnold, R.I.B. (ON), C.A.I.B.

Business Development Manager, Personal Lines