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12 Days of Holiday Mishaps: The Most Common and How to Avoid Them

From sparking holiday lights and turkey fires to slick roads and packed parking lots, State Farm® is packaging up 12 of the ultimate tips and tricks to stay safe this holiday season.

Tips to Combat Holiday Mishaps

  • Cooking Fires: Happening more often than you think, holiday hosts can become overwhelmed and distracted while cooking or baking. In 2021, State Farm reported $142M in total claim costs for grease fires and cooking-related fires.

  • Turkey Fryer Fires: Whether a beginner or experienced cook, a lot can go wrong when frying a turkey. This year, State Farm has already paid out a total of $4M for outdoor cooking fires and expects that number to rise as we approach Thanksgiving.

    • Candle & Tree Fires: It’s important to burn candles in short increments and keep them away from kids, pets, and holiday decorations. The annual average fire claim in 2021 cost over $50,000, and that’s up 57% from 2020. Don’t let your real holiday tree overstay its welcome either. Last year, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 7,400 home fires that were started by candles, according to the National Fire Protection Association. These fires cause $291 million in direct property damage annually. 
  • When the Pet Bites: While family and friends flood your home for the holidays, the increased noise levels and new faces can scare your pets, leaving them feeling overwhelmed and scared. Placing pets in a quiet room away from guests can help reduce anxiety and the risk of animals biting out of fear. Pet medical insurance can also help pay for emergencies like when your dog eats an entire turkey or the cat chews on holiday lights.  

    • According to State Farm, the total cost of dog-related injury claims in 2021 was $161.7 million with the average cost per claim nearing $50,000.
    • Another way to protect your pets is with pet medical insurance. This can help pay for emergencies like when your dog eats an entire turkey or the cat chews on holiday lights.
    • Protect yourself, your assets, and your furry family member with Trupanion® pet medical insurance.

  • Holiday Lights & Electrical Fires: Electrical distribution and lighting equipment was involved in nearly half (45%) of home Christmas tree fires, while holiday lights cause more than 770 house fires every year. Make sure you don’t leave lights on trees or on other decorations when you go to bed or leave the house. They could short and start a fire. If you’re planning to decorate outdoors, make sure that you use lights and decorations intended for outdoor use.

    • Through an opportunity with State Farm, Ting can help protect your family from electrical fires.
    • Leading causes of Christmas tree fires:

      • Decorative lights were involved in 17 percent.
      • Wiring or related equipment was involved in 15 percent.
      • Cords or plugs were involved in 7 percent.
      • Other lamps, bulbs, or lighting were involved in 6 percent.
      • Electrical failures or malfunctions were factors in almost one-third (31 percent) of Christmas tree fires.
  • Car Burglary & Theft: While the holiday season can be full of excitement and great shopping deals, it’s also the time of year when shopping center parking lots can be full of hazards. During the holidays, parking lots can become magnets for thieves. They target vehicles to steal, or to steal from, looking for visible shopping bags and other valuables.  
  • Parking Lot Collisions: The hustle and bustle of the holiday can mean people are moving quickly and forget to slow down and pay attention. In fact, 1 in 5 of all car accidents occur in parking lots.

o   According to research from the National Safety Council, more than 50,000 parking lot accidents occur each year.

o   Two-thirds of drivers are distracted when they’re pulling into shopping centers.

  • Holiday Driving Accidents: Holiday travel means more cars on slick roads so be sure to drive with caution and watch for deer, and reindeer too! December is the third riskiest month for an animal collision, and November is #1. 
  • Chimney Fire: Most chimney fires are caused by a dirty chimney. Remember to remove the soot your chimney periodically to prevent chimney fires.
  • Liability: There are several ways to be injured around the house during the holiday season. Many personal injury claims are filed against all types of insurance policies during the holidays as guests can become injured at a celebration. Make sure to be aware of your surroundings and clean up messes as they happen to avoid accidents.
  • Be a Good Neighbor: Be courteous by shoveling the sidewalks or having a friendly conversation. Don’t forget to keep noise levels to a minimum. If you're leaving for the holidays, ask a trusted friend, neighbor, or Neighborhood Watch member to watch your home. 

The holidays should be a joyous time to reconnect with loved ones, so make sure you’re prepared for any unexpected moment by getting a personalized quote from our agents.

About State Farm®:

For over 100 years, the mission of State Farm has been to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected and realize their dreams. State Farm and its affiliates are the largest providers of auto and home insurance in the United States. Its more than 19,400 agents and 67,000 employees serve over 91 million policies and accounts – including auto, fire, lifehealth, commercial policies and financial services accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for rentersbusiness ownersboats and motorcycles, is also available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 44 on the 2023 Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit

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