• Things to think about when putting up decorations
  • Ideas for how to protect your home
  • How to drive safely this winter

If you're celebrating Christmas this year, you're going to need a tree! For those choosing a natural Christmas tree, pick one that's fresh and place it in a water-holding tree stand. Remember to top up the water every day. If buying an artificial tree, make sure it's fire retardant; trees should be kept away from heaters and radiators.

Be careful when untangling and plugging in fairy lights and other light up decorations. If you have an ancient but much-loved set of lights you're not ready to let go of just yet, the bulbs should be replaced with low LED lights that conform to BS EN 60598 standards. If you're using outdoor lights, they should be made for that purpose and you should use a circuit breaker for extra safety. 

Always check your candles and bulbs for any damage and connect lights safely to the mains to avoid long trailing leads, making sure you don't overload any sockets.

When you're facing the task of deciding where you'd like the decorations to go, make sure you're not covering any burglar alarm motion detectors. Warm air can cause dangly decorations to sway or spin – so make sure these are out of the way of sensors to prevent unwanted alarms!

Take care when you're hanging your decorations, use a good quality stepladder and don't over reach - however tempting it is to hang it in the perfect place.

Be sure to keep lights away from other decorations and any other flammable materials. At the end of the day, always make sure you unplug any electrical decorations at the mains.

Other useful tips to stay safe this winter

Over the festive season, the nights are darker and more of us are away from our homes in the evenings and at weekends. Unfortunately this means that it's a time burglars are likely to strike. When decorating your property, of course make it as festive and welcoming as you'd like - but be sure you're not attracting unwanted guests by advertising your gifts inside or outside the home.

If you've decided to go away over the festive period, you may want to leave the heating on low; this will avoid freezing pipes and condensation. It may also be worth draining your water system or bleeding radiators to prevent this.

Did you know that if your home contents is insured with LV=, the level of cover over the festive period increases by 10%? This is to cover all the extra stuff you've got at home – like Christmas presents for example.

Lastly, according to the AA, around 6.7 million journeys of 20 miles or more are expected to be made on Christmas day. Be safe on the roads and have a look at our hints and tips for driving in winter conditions.

Always drink responsibly, whether you're staying in or off to the office party. Nominating a designated driver means everyone can relax knowing they'll get home safely.