Christmas home security tips
You can't be in two places at once, and thieves know it. While you're out hunting down the perfect stocking stuffer, suffering through enjoying the children's pageant, or chugging eggnog at the office holiday party, burglars are seeking signs that the coast is clear to break into your car or home.
Here are some ways to thwart these aspiring Grinches:
Case your own property and think like a robber
Don a black mask, look at your home through a burglar's eyes, and ask yourself a few questions: How would you break in? Does it look like someone is home? Are your valuables in an obvious place? You want to be the cat in this game of Cat and Mouse.
Your house, your car, your garage, wherever you're hiding the presents—if it has a lock, use it! Porch traffic increases during the holidays—house guests, the vast army of delivery people, carolers a-wassailing. With so many people coming and going, you shouldn't gift wrap your property and possessions for a burglar by leaving your doors unlocked.
Leave the light on
It's a simple and effective way to deter intruders. When house lights and electronics like TVs are on, they signal to would-be robbers that someone might be home. (But don't leave Christmas lights on—they can pose a fire risk.)
Let AI worry about the lights and locks
One of the benefits of a smart lock is that you can program it to lock automatically after a set period of time—say, 10 minutes—so you never have to worry about leaving your home unsecured.
And with smart plugs and smart home automation, there are many ways for you to easily give the impression you're home when you're really not.
Never leave anything of value in plain sight . . . except cookies for Santa, of course. Keep your jewelry, extra cash, or other valuables in a safe at home or safe deposit box at the bank. Try not to be obvious about where you stash your goods—the master bedroom is the first place any intruder will check for valuables. Well, there or under the Christmas tree.
Install a doorbell camera
If you want a quick and easy way to monitor your entryways, consider a doorbell cam. If you don't know which one is right for you, check out our reviews of the best doorbell cameras on the market.
Activate your alarm system
Make arming your home security system part of your daily morning routine so it becomes a habit. But we know the holiday mind is a distracted mind—lights flashing all around you, arms overflowing with gifts, reindeer soaring overhead—so if you do fail to activate your alarm on your way out the door, hopefully you’ve chosen a system that can arm it remotely.
If you don't have a home security system or don't like the one you have, check out our recommendations
for the best home security systems.
Best Home Security Systems
Best High-End System
Control your social status
The desire to spread holiday FOMO may tempt you to brag about your holiday travels or shopping sprees, but you should resist the urge to broadcast to the whole world that you are not going to be home.
If you absolutely must livestream the bare-knuckle boxing match that erupted in aisle 13 over the last Barbie Dreamplane Playset (or whatever the kids are into this year), then use the privacy settings on your social media profiles to share your location only with people you trust.
Resist the urge to broadcast to the whole world that you are not going to be home.
Don't advertise all your fun, new stuff
After the holiday, think twice about placing the packaging and gift wrap from your Christmas haul on the curb for garbage/recycling pickup—you might as well send robbers a full-color catalog of your stealable possessions. Break boxes down and stuff them in the proper cans. Your waste removal folks will thank you, and criminals will just walk on by.
Skipping town for the holiday?
Check out our recommendations on how to protect your home while on vacation.