• Safety tips from the LV= Broker team
  • Fun quotes and photos to help you remember the guidance
  • Why not share your own tips on social using the hashtag #LVSafetyElves?

Check out the LV= Twitter and Facebook pages over the next two weeks for a new festive home insurance, car insurance or pet insurance safety tip every day.

A cat's head poking out of a christmas tree. Text on the image says 'When you get stuck climbing the christmas tree so you have to pretend you're a bauble'

1. Choosing the right tree…

'When buying a natural Christmas tree, select one that is fresh, place it in a water-holding tree stand and top up daily with water,' recommends the LV= Broker team. 'If buying an artificial tree, ensure it is of a fire-retardant type. Trees should be kept away from heating equipment or other sources of ignition, and fire escape routes kept clear.'

Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's husband, is usually credited with popularising the tradition of having a Christmas tree in the UK, after he brought one over from his native Germany in the 1800s.

2. ...and bringing it home

A christmas tree on a car roof, with a dad is holding his child on the roof too smiling. The text on the image says 'Right, we don't have enough bungie cords, so you'll have to sit here on the drive home and hold on to the tree'

When transporting your own tree, make sure it's tied securely to your car roof, so that it won't come off if you brake sharply during your drive.

3. Check your fairy lights

'Older sets of lights should be replaced, preferably with low-voltage LED lights that conform to BS EN 60598,' says the LV= Broker team.

Make sure you also follow the manufacturer's instructions when plugging them in and putting them up, and only use fairy lights outside if they are made for this purpose.

A young child in a box filled with fairy lights. The text on the image says 'Malcolm had known it would be a long day when he saw his name beside 'untangle the fairy lights' on the christmas chore list'

Before plugging your lights in, check that the cables and bulbs aren't damaged. Once checked, plug them into the outlet that's closest to the tree to avoid trailing cables, and don't overload any sockets.

4. Pet-friendly festivities

Many of the things that we enjoy during the festive season can actually be hazardous to pets.

Two dogs cuddling up to each other on a sofa with a christmas tree in the background. Text on the image says 'A kiss?! All i can manage after that much food is a sleepy hug!

'Chocolate, mince pies, Christmas pudding, onion gravy and alcohol are all poisonous for our pets – and the bones from carcasses are a dangerous choking hazard,' warns the RSPCA.

Some festive plants, such as poinsettias, holly, ivy, mistletoe and lilies, can also be toxic to animals.

5. Keeping small children safe

If you have children, they're probably expecting to unwrap a lot of toys and pull plenty of crackers during December.

Christmas crackers were supposedly invented by confectioner Tom Smith in 1847, as a marketing campaign to sell more of his sweets.

An old man and a kid playing with a christmas cracker. Text on the image says 'Isaac had devised the perfect strategy: he'd covered Grandpa's half of the cracker in turkey fat'

However, for small children, some of the toys in crackers could present a choking hazard.

The Child Accident Prevention Trust also warns parents about the dangers of button batteries, which are used in many toys and could cause internal injuries if swallowed.

6. What to consider when buying baubles

Fragile decorations – especially ones made of glass – aren't ideal for families with young children or curious animals. Cats love climbing trees, so a crystal angel at the top of the tree is unlikely to last until Christmas Day in a feline-owning household.

A cat looking very guilty as there is a smashed bauble underneath the tree. Text on the image says 'You'll never believe it: a thief broke in, smashed your christmas decoration and then ate all the leftover turkey!'

When hanging up the rest of your decorations, the LV= Broker team recommends that you keep any security and temperature-controlling devices clear. 

It says that you should make sure 'that intruder alarm movement detectors are not “blinded”, and also that unwanted alarms arising from the movement of decorations due to draughts and the effects of heating/air-conditioning equipment are avoided.'

7. Stepping up to the task

'When hanging Christmas decorations, always use good-quality stepladders appropriate for the task,' suggests the LV= Broker team.

Kids decorating a christmas tree. Text on the image says 'Well, yes, she may be doing all the work, but it's based on my creative vision'

8. Candles for Christmas, Hanukkah and more

Lighting candles during stormy nights is one of the joys of the winter period, while many families believe there's only one place to hang the stockings: above the fireplace.

Two children lighting up a menorah. Text on the image says 'Josh's concern for EI's safety was touching. Little did they know he was actually trying to control the flame with his mind!'

With all the paper decorations around, make sure you take extra care with any naked flame.

There's also a safe way to light your Christmas pudding: warm the brandy first, put the pudding on the table so you don't have to carry it alight, then set it on fire with a long taper.

9. Keeping your footing on the roof

If you're planning on decorating the outside of your home this Christmas, make sure you plan ahead and get some help.

Try to go up when the weather is clear, and keep an eye out for slippery patches on the roof tiles.

A person dressed as Santa, climbing up a drain pipe, trying to get in to a house through a window. Text on the image says 'After his sleigh had been clamped by an over-zealous parking attendant, santa had to resort to other ways of scaling a building'

10. Winter roads, revelry and weather watching

The weather is likely to get considerably cooler as the new year approaches, which will mean wintery roads, invisible ice and even heavy snowfall.

A kid on a toy car in the snow towing a christmas tree. Text on the image says 'Maybe if i keep smiling, nobody will notice that i crashed into the christmas tree...'

There's plenty of guidance on @Heart to help you drive safely in winter weather – from beating your fears to finding your way in fog – but, with all the parties happening over the period, the LV= Broker team has some extra advice.

'Whether at home or at a workplace party, drink sensibly,' the team says. 'Nominate a designated driver and stay safe on the journey home?'

11. Keep your gifts well hidden

Although there has been a 10% decrease in household theft in the year ending June 2017, winter is still a time when burglars could strike.

A kid looking very happy holding out a present. Text on the image says 'When you're really chuffed with your present-wrapping skills'

Don't encourage theft by leaving presents, opened and unopened, on display through your windows. Plus, try to keep any boasts about the great gifts you've received off social media – unless your privacy settings are up to scratch.

Read our article on winter home security for more facts.

12. How to have a (snow) ball

A young girl, in the snow, looking like she is about to sneeze. Text on the image says Not above germ warfare, Stacey had started sneezing into her snowballs before she threw them'

If it snows over the winter (and let's be honest, that's a big 'if'), a snowball fight is the perfect way to get everyone outside, working off the turkey.

Make sure you select the snow you use carefully – any that's landed on gravel could hide stones when picked up, a particular problem if you're playing near windows.

We want to hear from you! If you have any festive safety tips or holiday hacks to share, don't hesitate to comment on our Facebook page or share on Twitter with the hashtag #LVSafetyElves.