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How to avoid Christmas day disasters

For anyone who's ever experienced a festive calamity, knowing how to avoid Christmas day disasters is now a yuletide rite-of-passage. For everyone else, read on to discover how to avoid Christmas day disasters so you can enjoy the festivities in heavenly peace (of mind).

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The lights are dazzling, the Christmas tree is bursting with baubles, the stockings are hung by the fire with care, and the turkey is sizzling in the oven. It’s picture-perfect – a festive miracle – until disaster strikes.

Suddenly, an overhead pipe bursts; the house is plunged into darkness; no one can find Grandma; and you’re standing in your hallway, turkey baster in hand, wondering whose naughty list you ended up on.

What’s worse, is that anyone able to come to your rescue is taking the day off. Most tradespeople are at home enjoying time off with their loved ones, blissfully unaware of your predicament.

Which is why prevention is better than cure. Read on to discover how to avoid Christmas day disasters so you can enjoy the festivities in heavenly peace (of mind).

Christmas day

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A broken oven

If there’s one thing that defines Christmas, it’s the food. Sharing a hearty meal with loved ones and eating until you’re as stuffed as the turkey is what it’s all about. However, that post-food coma isn’t the same if you have to whack out the BBQ when your oven packs in. And unless Jack Frost is willing to help you out, standing in the cold on a wintery December day puts a dampener on the festivities.

Christmas dinner

Burst pipes

As snow drifts outside your window and a fire crackles in the hearth, your feelings toward the cold winter months start to soften. However, just as you snuggle beneath layers of wool, a pipe bursts and washes away your Christmas cheer. When the only liquid you want flowing on Christmas day is mulled wine and champagne, a flood can be devastating.

  • Preparation: First, in case of an emergency, learn where the stopcock is. Second, insulate your outside taps, piping (including drainpipes, heating or overflow pipes), and cold water tank. And last, be sure to service your central heating regularly
  • Solution: If disaster strikes, turn off the mains water and seek out emergency repairs

Broken down boiler

Your boiler is the workhorse of your home and there’s nothing worse than having no heating or hot water, especially if you have family staying.

A power cut

Your presents are opened, your belly is full, and you’ve just sat down to watch the King’s speech when – bam – the power cuts off and plunges you into darkness. With nothing but the embers of the fire to help you see, you bravely volunteer to find some candles and locate the fuse box. Stealing the batteries from your child’s new remote-powered toy, you place them in your trusty torch and promise to restore the electricity.

  • Preparation: Make sure your electrics are meeting the current regulations and you have an up-to-date consumer unit. It also helps to turn off any unnecessary devices and lights as you go. Similarly, it pays to keep candles and lighters around the house should you need to invoke the good old days pre-Edison
  • Solution: If disaster strikes, seek out emergency repairs from an electrician on Checkatrade

Christmas chimney and fireplace

Gas leaks

Let’s face it, the only gas leak that’s anywhere near acceptable on Christmas Day is one related to Brussel sprouts. However, if you smell gas that’s unrelated to these Gemmifera vegetables, you’re dealing with an emergency situation.

Fire safety

Christmas is a notorious fire risk. Whether it’s the tree, turkey, or entire house setting ablaze during a wanton candle or electrical accident, it’s best to stay prepared. The effects of a fire are devastating. And what’s more, they’re often preventable.

  • Preparation: Install smoke alarms on each floor of your house and test them monthly. Don’t leave candles unattended, and read any cooking instructions fully to avoid a mishap. Not everyone is a culinary Masterchef, but knowing the difference between Celsius and Fahrenheit is essential. Also, talk fire strategy with your family. Know your escape plan in the case of a fire, and familiarise yourself with all/any extinguishers. Not all fires are equal, and not all fires can be put out with the same substance
  • Solution: If it’s safe to do so, use the appropriate fire extinguisher to extinguish the flames. If not, leave immediately and call 999

Christmas fire safety

Chimney blockages

Picture this: You’ve set out on your once-a-year voyage. Your reindeer are restless, your elves are loading up the cargo, and your belly is primed for the billions of mince pies coming your way. Tensions are high. Time is of the essence. But soon you’re flying away into the night, soaring through the skies, disappearing down chimneys, and dispersing gifts like there’s literally no time like the present. Then, approximately 50,000,001 mince pies later, you reach your next stop and slide down a red-bricked chimney breast – only to get stuck.

At first, you blame the baked goods. That is – until you realise it’s an issue with the chimney itself – not your waistline. The homeowners didn’t do their due diligence and are now responsible for ruining Christmas for billions of people.

Don’t be those people. Make room for Santa.

  • Preparation: Clean your chimney, let the fire die out, buy a human-sized plunger, and consider installing a chimney alarm to detect any anomalies
  • Solution: In case of an emergency, use the plunger. If that doesn’t work, call the fire brigade. They’ve been prepped

We hope you enjoyed our ‘How to avoid Christmas day disasters’ blog. For more great ideas like this, check out our Christmas preparation guide to get your home ready for the festivities.

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