From the Editor: Safety comes first, presents second

The most wonderful time of the year can also be the most dangerous time of the year. During the holidays, we spread joy and spend time with our families; however, we should also spread safety tips with the people we love.
I enjoy the holiday season just as much as the next person, but when people aren’t cautious about how they’re celebrating, things can become dangerous rather quickly. With a little bit of common sense and guidance, people can make the best of their holiday season and not have to worry about any risky situations.
It’s always nice to get festive and decorate our homes when the holiday season rolls around. But it’s always necessary to take some precautions while doing so. Many fires are a result of decorations being put up improperly in houses, especially Christmas trees. Annually, on average, one out of every 40 Christmas tree fires results in fatalities, according to the U.S. Fire Administration, and one in every six fires are a result of a heat source being too close to a Christmas tree. Buying an impressive tree to decorate your home is one of the most popular ways to get into the spirit. To keep your holidays free of disaster, be aware of what’s around your tree when setting it up. Even though it might look nice in front of your fireplace, keeping your tree away from it might be for the best.
Candles are also popular decorations during the holiday season for holidays such as Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, but they too can be dangerous. It’s important to keep them away from anything flammable and not leave them unattended.
Many people look forward to having a snowy holiday, but traveling during one isn’t very fun. Sure, it’s beautiful when snow falls on your outside decorations. But driving in the snow can be dangerous. Be sure to drive slowly and take your time. Your family will wait for you to get to the dinner table, and I’m sure they won’t mind if you’re a few minutes late if it means being safe and not getting into an accident.
New Year’s Eve is one of the biggest celebrations of the year. Almost everyone enjoys staying up with friends and family to ring in the New Year. If you plan on driving that night, it’s important to be extra careful. New Year’s Eve is infamous for drunk drivers and driving accidents. Yes, it’s important to have fun at parties on New Year’s Eve, but it’s also important to be smart about how you go about doing so.
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), when going out on New Year’s Eve, have a responsible person agree to be the designated driver who will make sure that everyone gets home safely and no one drives intoxicated. Additionally, they suggest that partiers should get the phone number of a local cab company before going out so they have someone to call when the night is over. Hiring a limo or a party bus to take you and your friends to and from the party is another great way to stay safe and still have fun. This avoids the temptation to drive under the influence.
If you’re hosting a party at your own home, take extra precautions to make sure that everyone gets home safely. Take the car keys from anyone  who is planning on drinking that night to make sure they don’t drive later. Offer to call them a taxi at the end of the night or, even better, offer them a place to stay.
It’s also important to be cautious and aware of your surroundings while you are at a New Year’s Eve celebration. Like any party, make sure to watch your drink and never leave it unattended, especially if you’re in a public place. More importantly, monitor your alcohol intake: You don’t want to ring in the New Year in the hospital.
The holidays are a time of joy and laughter. Keep it that way with some common sense.

The weekly editorial expresses the
majority opinion of The Rider News.
This week’s editorial was written by the Opinion Editor, Danielle Gittleman.

Printed in the 12/4/13 edition.

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