We are quickly approaching the “most wonderful time of the year”.  The holidays are often a busy and joyous time, but they can also bring unexpected dangers.  Knowing how to manage and prepare for the possibility of dangers will help everyone to have a festive holiday season.


When purchasing a real tree it is important to ensure that it is fresh with green needles that do not fall off when touched.  It is important to water the tree daily. 

Place the tree in an area that is free from high traffic areas, doorways and not blocking an exit.  Be sure that your tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, such as heating vents, radiators, stoves, fireplaces and burning candles.   Also, ensure that the tree is well-secured in a sturdy stand.  

When it comes to decorating your holiday tree, it is important to keep sharp or breakable tree ornaments or those with small removable parts outside of the reach of young children.  Also, never use lit candles to decorate the tree. 


When it comes to decorating, it is important to use lights that have been marked with an accredited certification agency such as CSA, cUL or cETL.  Be sure to only use lights that are marked for indoor use inside your home.  Always read the package instructions and remember not to exceed the recommended wattage.

Before you begin decorating, it is important to check the light strings and extension cords and discard those that are frayed or have exposed wires, loose connections or broken light sockets.


During the holidays, many enjoy using the fireplace or lighting candles to warm up your home or enhance the atmosphere.  However, inattentiveness to these items can lead to disastrous consequences. 

Be sure to never leave a fire unattended.  Always have water close by in case a spark escapes the fireplace and starts to smolder on a chair, curtain or rug.  It is also important to extinguish lit candles before going to bed or leaving the house and never place lit candles near flammable items such as curtains or carpeting. 

Throughout the year it is always important to check your smoke alarms to ensure that they are working properly and change the batteries on a regular basis. 


Driving during the holiday season can be more dangerous when you account for the wintery weather, parties that serve alcohol and seasonal stress. 

If you are travelling long distances to vacation or enjoy your holidays with loved ones, it is a good idea to prepare ahead of time in order to stay safe while driving.  Planning your route and checking to see if there is any construction or traffic can help you avoid becoming frustrated and keep you safe while driving. 

It is also important to ensure that your car has had a check-up before heading out on a holiday road trip.  Be sure that your spare tire and jack are in proper working order and arrange for an oil change if your car is due for one before you head out on the road. 

Always prepare for inclement weather.  Rain, snow, sleet or black ice are all possible conditions that can occur during this time of year and make driving more difficult.  Be prepared with a roadside emergency kit (including a first aid kit, warm blankets, road flares, jumper cables, oil, coolant, a flashlight with extra batteries).  Drive slowly and obey all of the rules of the road.

Most importantly, do not drink and drive.  Alcohol slows down reaction time, affects your vision and concentration, and hinders your ability to make rational decisions.  Avoid alcoholic drinks while at parties or plan ahead by using a designated driver or a ride sharing app.


When hosting guests this holiday season, planning and preparation ensure that your guests are both comfortable and safe. 

To reduce the risk of a slip and fall accident, always ensure that your walkways inside your home are free of holiday lights and decorations.  If a guest trips on an electrical cord, you may be legally responsible for any injuries that result.  Always take appropriate measures to ensure that guests entering your home are safe.  It is equally as important to ensure that the entrance to your home is well lit, clear of ice and snow, and free of any tripping hazards.

Be especially careful if small children are visiting during the holiday season.  Young children are likely to put anything they may find in their mouths.  Choking is one of the leading causes of toy-related deaths.  Always keep an eye on young children and remove any small items that are lying around to ensure a safe environment for infants and toddlers.

When it comes to serving alcohol, it is important to ensure that your guests who have been drinking do not get behind the wheel of a car.  Encourage your guests to designate a driver before they arrive or provide an alternate mode of transportation.  It is also helpful to have non-alcoholic options readily available for your guests.  As a social host, you may be held liable for injuries sustained by impaired guests who are involved in a motor vehicle collision while driving home from your party.  Please see our blog regarding social host liability.

Cuming & Gillespie LLP would like to wish you a very happy and safe holiday season.  We know that even if you have taken every precaution to avoid a mishap, accidents can still occur.  If you or someone you love suffers an injury due to the fault of someone else over the holidays, we are here to help.  Please contact our office online or at 403-571-0555 to discuss your legal options.  Our award winning personal injury lawyers look forward to helping you obtain the compensation you deserve.