5 holiday safety tips for home entertaining

Okay, so we know how to host a party for people own own age. But what about our friend's grandparent who travels with a walker?

After all, friends will sometimes ask if they can bring their extended family along for a get together, especially around holidays. This is the time to think home safety, and to find out their guests' ages, mobility, and any special needs.

These holiday safety tips for home entertaining will help ensure the safety of your guests of all ages.

  1.  ensure the walkway to your home is clear and well lit.

During the holiday season, take a fresh look at your home's exterior entryway to ensure it is safe for all your arriving visitors.

One often overlooked aspect of holiday entertaining is making sure our home's exterior walkways and entry areas are safe for visitors of varying ages and mobility levels to navigate.

Few things can torpedo a festive gathering quicker than a slick walkway that takes an arriving visitor by surprise - and your celebration to a hospital room.

To prevent slips and falls, make sure you clear sidewalks and porches of kids' toys or anything else - such as snow or wet leaves - your holiday visitors might possibly trip over.

Make sure your house number is clearly visible and the walkway well-lit so that the moment guests arrive at your home they can safely make their way into the festive environs inside.

  2.  clear the deck inside your home, too.

Inside, make sure hallways are clear of clutter and bright enough to allow someone in a wheelchair or with a walker to navigate safely.

Take up slippery area rugs. Mark any changes in floor level with plants or furniture. This will help ensure safety in the home for your very youngest - and most senior - guests.

  3.  arrange safe, cozy seating for guests.

Even if you're planning a stand-up cocktail party, you should always have a few seats arranged in small cozy groups. This makes conversation easy and audible. And, it provides a restful place for those who can't stand for long periods of time.

  4.  strategically position tables for entertaining.

Place small tables near some of the seating so guests can put their drinks or food down. Make sure the lighting is pleasant but strong enough so that the tables can be seen en route to finding another shrimp skewer.

  5.  prepare food that's safe for all dietary needs.

Prepare some plain, low-fat foods that have little or no salt. Regardless of your theme, make it easy for people with allergies, on diets, or simply finicky to find something to munch on. Keep in mind that warm and cold foods often cannot be safely left out for more than an hour or two, and plan accordingly. (You can get important food safety tips here.)

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