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If you’re hosting a holiday party this season, safety should be an essential part of your party planning preparation work. Foolproofing your home might be an afterthought when you’re in the midst of sending out invitations, arranging decorations and cooking appetizers, but it should really be a top priority. When you gather a group of people in your home, as the host you do take on some additional responsibility.
All that being said, don’t let that stop you from partying! If you’re mindful about safety precautions from the get-go, you can guarantee a smooth and spectacular event.
A white Christmas is certainly a festive start to the holidays, but it can also interfere with a holiday party. Throwing a soiree in the winter means taking into account extreme weather conditions, such as snow, sleet and freezing rain. If snow is falling on the day of your party, shovel the walkway for easy access to and from the front door. And, sprinkle salt on any patches of ice to prevent slips or falls. Keep in mind, you may have to do this at the end of the party too, before people start heading out.
Wintertime means that the sun sets earlier and dark starts to creep up faster. If you’re throwing an evening party, make sure to light the outside of your home so everyone can see where they’re going, especially if snow and ice are in the mix. Twinkling holiday lights lining walkways can double as a festive decoration and a safety measure.
If you’re hosting at home, take a look at your party space and consider the guest-to-square-footage ratio. The tighter the fit, the more likely someone may be bumped, trip or knock into something. Consider removing smaller furniture pieces, like side tables, for more standing room. If there is any furniture with sharp edges, either remove them or try to angle them out of the way. (This isn’t to say you need to baby proof your home for your friends and family, but no one likes ramming a knee into the edge of a coffee table.)
Also, remove any low-to-the-ground decor pieces that someone might trip over or break, like standing vases. If someone is unfamiliar with a space, they may not know to look down before walking forward, then tripping over that magazine basket. Similarly, if you have any wires running along the floor from lamps or speakers, tape them down.
Flickering candles and crackling fires might give your party a festive flair and a warm ambiance, but they can pose as fire hazards. Steer clear from arranging candles on the food station or dinner table where a sleeve could catch fire or on tables where children could knock them over. Instead, place the candles in hard-to-reach spots, such as a taller shelf or mantel. An open fireplace is another safety concern, but just make sure there’s a screen in front of the fireplace to serve as a barrier from any flying sparks, and remove any fire pokers or fans so guests don’t take it upon themselves to tend to the flames.
No, we’re not saying your friends and family have sticky fingers. Removing breakable and expensive items, such as china and family heirlooms, from the party space means you don’t have to worry about them getting broken on accident.
From answering the door to taking drink orders, it can be difficult to find a second to check on your food prep, like cookies in the oven or chili in a slow cooker. If you’re preparing appetizers or dishes for your holiday gathering, and you have to walk away to attend to some other hosting duty, be sure to tap in a temporary kitchen attendant so the oven is never left unattended. With all of the commotion, it’s easy to get carried away and forget about those cookies baking, but before you know it, the fire alarm is going off and dessert is extra crispy.
For any adult holiday get-together, festive cocktails are a fun way to celebrate. Make sure to have plenty of appetizers or snacks available so no one is drinking on an empty stomach. In addition to alcoholic options, add a few mocktails to your drink menu and make sure to have a couple pitchers of water out in the open. That way, since a water refill may be more convenient than going to the cocktail area, guests will opt for more good old H2O more frequently
Lastly, if you’re in an area with car services like Lyft or Uber, encourage guests to consider taking the service by having your address clearly displayed on a piece of paper by the door. That way, if there’s been one too many drinks enjoyed, a car service is top-of-mind. (They can always come back to pick up their car the next day.)
Published on 11/25/2019