Date Published: 2023/12/01

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Hosting a holiday party? Celebrate safely with these tips.

A group of friends in their early 30s setting a dinner table. In the background is a tree decorated for the holidays with lights and ornaments.

It’s that time of year when calendars are filled with celebrations to share in the joy of the holiday season with friends, family, and coworkers. And while ‘tis the season to be jolly, it’s important to take the right precautions to ensure everyone gets home safely once the celebration has come to an end. If you’re planning on hosting this season, follow these tips to ensure you and your guests celebrate the holidays safely. 

6 hosting tips to celebrate the holidays safely 

1. Know your liability as a host. 

Being a host comes with responsibility. It’s important to know what you’re liable for so you can take precautions to reduce risks of damage, accidents, or injuries on your property—especially if you’re serving alcohol. Forms of potential liability for social hosts include:

  • Liability as a server—serving people past the point of intoxication
  • Liability as an occupier—a person who owns, has possession of or responsibility for the premises is responsible for protecting people on their premises from harm
  • Anyone involved in the service of alcohol could be held liable for damages or injuries where alcohol is deemed to have been a contributing factor
  • Liability as an employer regarding employees consuming alcohol, such as at staff parties
  • Liability as a sponsor of potentially dangerous activities

2. Implement safe serving rules.

If serving alcohol, ensure your guests drink responsibly. Designate a reliable bartender to keep track of the size and number of drinks your guests consume. Provide plenty of alcohol-free beverage options and keep food flowing throughout the event. Stop serving alcohol at least one hour before wrapping up and offer tea, coffee, and water to close out the night. 

3. Never let someone drive impaired.

Every day, on average, 4 Canadians are killed and 175 are injured in impairment-related crashes. Make certain that none of your guests get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, or other substances. Ask your guests when they arrive what their plans are for getting home and who the designated drivers will be. Offer taxis, rideshare or public transportation options and keep a spot in your home ready for last-minute overnight guests. Don’t hesitate to ask for someone’s car keys if you’re concerned about their ability to drive. 

4. Clear driveway and walkways.

Snow and ice can be a slip-and-fall hazard for guests. Shovel and salt your sidewalk, driveway, and front steps to keep them clear for people to safely enter and exit your home. 

5. Deck the halls with care.

Ensure all holiday decorations, including lights and trees, are set up and cared for properly. Avoid placing decorations anywhere guests might trip over them and keep railings clear to be used for stability when needed. For lights and other decorations using electricity, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation and avoid overloading electrical outlets. 

6. Avoid open flames.

While flickering candles and a crackling fireplace can give your home a cozy ambience, it’s best to avoid open flames at your holiday celebration. Opt for battery-powered flameless candles wherever possible and keep a safety gate around your fireplace — whether it’s wood burning or gas. Test all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms before your guests arrive and replace batteries or units as needed. Ensure you and your guests know where the fire extinguishers are in your home and how to use them. 

Sometimes accidents happen—even to the most prepared and cautious homeowners. That’s why it’s important to know that you have the right amount of coverage. If you have questions about your current insurance coverage, contact Orbit Insurance Services at 877-976-7248. If you’re shopping for home insurance and would like to get a quote, connect with an Orbit insurance broker today at 877-976-7248.