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Have a holly, jolly Christmas

Prevent the top three holiday-related risks

The holidays should be a time of celebration, not injury. As your church prepares for the holidays, also take steps to prevent injury, liability issues and potential property damage.

Holiday-related Risk #1: Travel

If travel is involved with your church celebration – Christmas caroling, holiday gatherings or serving other ministries – consider the risk that may come with it. Church drivers should be aware of who they're sharing the road with. During the Christmas and New Year holidays, alcohol-impaired driving is a major concern. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, this danger rises from 28% during December to 40% during the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Church event directors can take special precautions. Consider hosting the event during daylight because the likelihood of an accident increases at nighttime.

Holiday-related Risk #2: Fire Hazards

Christmas trees, lights and decorations can be frustrating to set-up, but don't overlook the details that could lead to an accident. Wires, lit candles, electrical outlets, pine needles and light bulbs are all fire hazards.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration National Fire Data Center, the use of Christmas ornaments and holiday decorations can increase the incidents of holiday fires.

  • 26% of decoration-related building fires occur in December.
  • 14% of annual candle fires occur in December.

Check to make sure your décor is non-flammable and safe to use.

Holiday-related Risk #3: Food Safety

Food allergies and illnesses caused by bacteria living in food during the holidays are prominent. Infections from foodborne bacteria cause an estimated 76 million people to become sick each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If you're considering serving food or refreshments at a church function, first think about those who will consume it. Wash your hands, cook everything thoroughly and store food before it hits the two-hour expiration mark. As far as food allergies, consider offering labels with a list of ingredients, or offer several options to each course.