Christmas is a time when our communities are at their busiest with people out and about celebrating. The holidays are a high-risk time for many things.

There are always a few who drink too much and are more susceptible to becoming either victims or perpetrators of alcohol-fuelled violence.

There are more fires, suicides and accidents.

Some families don’t have enough and suffer while you’re having a good time.

But they can be better and safer if you approach them with a clear mind. This Christmas I’ve included a few tips to make this a brighter and safer holiday.

At the top of the list is “don’t drink and drive”. Get a designated driver or have a friend on call if your community doesn’t have a Nez Rouge operation. Losing your driver’s permit could be the least of your worries if you ignore this one. A lot of traffic fatalities happen during the holidays. Make your community’s roads safe and be responsible.

I feel that we need another designated person these days in our communities. Have a designated gun cabinet or trigger-lock key holder. If you are drinking give the keys to your gun cabinet or trigger locks to a non-drinking friend or relative. In a pinch I’m sure the local police or fire department would be happy to help out. It may not be you grabbing the guns but someone else who has had too much to drink. You can get the keys back when you are sober.

Consuming too much alcohol can make you more vulnerable and can lead to you doing things you wouldn’t normally do. This removes the temptation and the possibility of spending Christmas and New Year behind bars wondering where the good times went. This is something you should do all year round but especially during the holidays. After all you want to enjoy them as much as everyone else does.

Report any domestic, family or other types of violence to the police. The holidays should be a time to celebrate and be happy. There is no need to live in fear and pain. Be good to each other and remember a good time does not mean destroying someone else’s good time. Let’s all look out for one another.

Don’t walk home alone late at night unless you have no choice. Always let friends or family know where you plan to be. If possible, travel home with a friend if you’re walking. If you have a cellphone make sure you text friends to let them know you made it home safely. Have them do the same. There’s more than just the possibility of random violence or a hit-and-run by a car, you might slip on ice and injure yourself or you might stop to rest on a snowbank and never get up.

Keep an eye on friends and relatives during the holiday season as they may not be enjoying it as much as you. Talk to them and get them to join you in the celebrations. A sense of belonging and friendship can go a long way to making the holidays more enjoyable. Don’t forget to give to Christmas baskets with food and toys. The holidays are a time to share.

Fires are a hazard during the holidays. Make sure your fire alarm has batteries and you’ll rest easier knowing your family and friends are safer.

Keep the tree watered. As well as being more resistant to possible fires it will give off a cozy Christmas scent. Do not place it near heaters or keep it in the house for more than two weeks.

Here’s hoping your holidays are bright and merry. From all the staff at the Nation – Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to one and all.