The holidays can truly be the most wonderful time of the year—but they can also be both dangerous and headache-inducing when you're living in a small space with a lot of flammable objects. Below, some tips for staying safe and staying out of trouble.
Be mindful of the tree
Christmas trees can be a huge hazard in buildings with shared hallways—either they don’t fit in the elevator or knock over light fixtures or the pine needles make a huge mess. But no need to skip the tree entirely. Arrange to use the freight elevator if your building has one and alert the staff that you’ll be bringing in a large tree in so they can protect the fixtures in advance.
Also, don't let yours hang around too long post-holiday. "When a tree is really dried out, it’s just tinder," says apartment insurance broker Jeff Schneider of Gotham Brokerage.
Turn off the lights
Whether it’s a menorah (for next year, now that Hanukkah is over) or candles on a Christmas tree—don’t leave them burning when you head out or go to sleep. And make sure not to overload your outlets with decorative lights so as not to overheat them. Apartment insurance will cover fire damage, but you don’t want to risk it.
Invest in package delivery
If you order most of your holiday gifts online, a doorman who accepts packages (or an actual package room) will come in mighty handy. But if you aren’t lucky enough to have either, there are other solutions to consider. Services like Parcel will schedule deliveries for those without doormen.
Don't let packages pile up, no matter what. It's a major tell for robbers casing the joint.
Keep the heat on
If you own your own place, make sure to leave the heat on to keep the pipes from freezing. And be sure to alert the staff that you’ll be gone so they can let you know if there are any apartment-related emergencies—plumbing or otherwise.
Protect your pets
The ASPCA advises nixing tinsel and mistletoe since they can be harmful to pets if ingested. Additionally, make sure the tree is anchored on a base that won’t give your prized pooch access to the tree water, which can contain chemicals and make your animal sick.
For more, read “Ho-Ho-Home Damage: Steer Clear of the Season’s Biggest Apartment Hazards.”
In Case You Missed It: Every so often, BrickUnderground digs through the archives to find the best advice our experts have shared through the years.