“I’m gonna give you to the count of 10, to get your ugly, no-good keister off my property…” Kevin McCallister uses a gangster movie, among other creative ideas, to scare off burglars Marv and Harry in the classic holiday movie, Home Alone. Watching the movie is not only a fun way to get into the Christmas spirit but also a good reminder of how your home can be vulnerable when you are away. But do not fret – you do not have to go as far as the crazy antics that Kevin used! An easy guide to making your home safe and sound follows:
Cancel the newspaper and put a hold on the mail
Remove any spare keys you hide outside
Mow the lawn or clean up the yard so it looks kept
Do not leave valuables out and visible (put the Xbox in the cupboard!)
Set lights on timers
Leave your curtains open (burglars will ‘case’ houses and can notice things like curtains that never move)
Leave some coffee mugs and a newspaper on the coffee table
Transfer your home phone to your mobile
Make sure all doors and windows are locked
Turn on the alarm if you have it!
Whilst you should tell as few people as possible that you will be out of town, you will want a friend or neighbour to check on things when you are away. This should include sharing your itinerary so they know the timings of your trip, providing emergency contact numbers (both yours and local services) and agreeing some visits to the house to ensure everything is alright and to make the house look like it is occupied. Your nanny and / or a babysitter can be great for this job if he or she will be in town over the holidays.
Now – go! Enjoy your holiday trip with the confidence that your home will be safe and secure. Just don’t forget to do a full count before you leave; you don’t want to leave any of the kids home alone!