It’s that time of the year again. It only comes around once, and is viewed with hope for better things. We are talking about the New Year, certainly one of the most popular holidays (if not the ‘it’ holiday after Christmas). Like its December counterpart, New Year draws a lot of attention, and rightfully so. It is the beginning of another year, a change of calendar, and a chance to get right what you didn’t the year before. Many choose to celebrate with friends and family, while others join city carnival celebrations that mainly feature fireworks at the stroke of midnight. Whichever way you choose to spend this New Year’s celebration, always remember to stay safe.
That said, let me remind you of a few basic safety rules that you should keep in mind.
It is very likely that the Christmas tree won’t come down till after New Year, which is fine, it adds to the festive mood. In any public gathering place, make sure that the tree is placed away next to any flammable material, crepe paper, or banner. Be twice as cautious if the tree is at home, since fires as result of Christmas trees are quite common. Never leave the tree unattended, especially if there are going to be firecrackers placed on them.
Avoid overloading the power system. Lights and shining things are good, but keep them to a minimum. Power bills shoot up during this time of the year, and the more electronic accessories on the tree, the higher the risk of accidental fire/sparks.
Parties are the go-to move for many to usher in the New Year. First off, have a guest list at least a week prior to the event. This helps in planning and logistics. Send invitations early, and have the start time clearly indicated. During the party, make sure to secure loose wires and decorations, to avoid tripping incidents. Lock all unused drawers, and keep valuable vases and lamp stands stored away. These tend to fall in the gathering of many people, and can cause quite nasty cuts.
Eliminate any ashes from the fireplace as soon as possible and store them away from any combustible material. Additionally, never add any liquid fuel to the burner if it has just been used. If you can’t wait for the burner to cool completely, have additional burners with you. Of course, keep these burners away from human traffic as much as possible.
If the party is going to have candles, make sure they are placed inside holders that are large enough to handle the spills. Do not forget to blow them out when the party is done. Also, be sure not to place them near flammable materials and decorations.
If you are planning to attend an event in town or otherwise, make sure you have the complete details: what kind of event it is, who is hosting, the hors d’oeuvres and drinks served. You want to usher the New Year in a festive mood, not in a disappointed one, or much worse, with a stomach ache.
Events and concerts
If the plan is to attend a New Year’s concert, have the tickets in advance. These type of events sell out quickly, and you don’t want to be the guy who stands outside the whole time. If you happen to be bringing friends along, notify them of the price of the event, so they know how much they will reimburse you before you have to call and pester them. They are your friends, so you may have to do this anyways.
If the party is in a part of town you haven’t been to before, ask around about the safety. Know which parts are safe to walk around at night, and which aren’t. Getting mugged in a town or place you don’t know is frustrating.
Don’t drink and drive. This cannot be stated enough. If you have to drink alcoholic beverages, make sure that you have a designated driver. Hire a cab to take you home if you have to. A friend’s couch will do just fine too. If your car happens to stall on this particular night, call the tow truck company. It helps if you have their number in your back pocket, just in case you need them.
New Year celebrations aren’t for the adults only, kids also want to have fun. Many couples want to include the kids in the festivities, and here their options aren’t limited. Take the kids to places where you can keep an eye on them easily. Skating rinks and theme parks are the obvious choice. If none of these are available in your area, check the local listings for anything that is family friendly.
The kids will want to have snacks, so ensure you buy these for them. Alternatively, you can leave home on a full belly. Lastly, keep them warm. For many parts of the world, New Year tends to be a very cold time of the year. Scarves and hoodies should be worn well ahead of time to prevent catching colds.
Many people prefer to usher in the brand new year with fireworks and related lighting items. Handle these with care. If possible, let a knowledgeable person handle them. Keep the children away from them too. They like to be curios at times, and this can be dangerous at times.
Have the fireworks in an open field or rooftop, away from homes and living areas. And keep a fire extinguisher nearby just in case something goes wrong. 6 out of 10 fires are caused by fireworks, so take extra care when handling them.
Just because it is a time for celebration doesn’t mean that the laws of the land aren’t in effect. Handle yourself with the proper decency and manners even as you have fun. Help others where you can, and maintain order at all times. Other than that, enjoy the upcoming New Year, whether with family and friends. See you next year!