holiday safety tips for entertaining

Okay, we know how to entertain people our age. But what about our friend's Mom who travels with a walker?

People will sometimes ask if they can bring their extended family along for a get-together, especially around the holidays. 

This is a good opportunity to find out their guests' ages and whether their guests have any special needs.

Of course, you want to accommodate your holiday guests to the best of your ability. Here are some holiday safety tips and strategies for guests of all to ensure a safe visit for all.

Assure Holiday Visitors a Safe Entry

One often overlooked aspect of holiday entertaining is making sure our home's exterior walkway 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, clear sidewalks and porches of kids' toys or anything else - such as snow or wet leaves - that holiday visitors might 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.

Inside Your Home

Inside, make sure there is a clear, well-lit walkway that someone in a wheelchair or with a walker could 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.

Arranging Safe Seating

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. We are trying to prevent holiday accidents here, after all.

Create Places to Place Things

Position 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 cheese ball. 

Prepare Foods For All 

Prepare some plain, low-fat foods that have little or no salt.

holiday safety tipsPrepare some plain, low-fat foods that have little or no salt.

Regardless of your theme, make it safe and easy for people with allergies, on diets, or simply finicky to find something to munch on.

What could be worse than having a guest leave hungry?

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.)

Pet Precautions

How could anyone not love Fluffy? And Bruiser wouldn't hurt a fly, would he? Tell that the Grandpa who sneezes when you say "cat." Or to Aunt Alice, who's terrified of anything that barks. 

Or to Great-grandma Susan, who broke a hip when a friendly pup jumped on her.

Yes, this is your pets' home. But they have to make compromises, too. Warn guests if you have a boa constrictor, like my friend Rada in San Francisco does. 

Ever since she let Michael, her teenager, bring "Rosy" home, I've been inclined to be a bit more attentive when my youngest is with me there. 

Keep all animals and reptiles safely confined during guests' visits as much as possible. Dogs can get territorial when strangers are wandering around the house in the dark. And you don't want Cousin Flora to be afraid to go to the bathroom during an evening visit. Think of where she might wander...

Now you can relax and enjoy your holiday visitors, knowing you've done all you can do to keep your guests of all ages safe in your home.

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