The holidays are a wonderful time of the year, bursting with joy, peace and good cheer. One prerequisite of the season is attending a festive holiday party or two. When we think of holiday party safety, perhaps we think of not putting the lit candles too close to the decorations or pointing the champagne bottle away from your face as you pop the cork. Yet, even the simplest of things should be given some thought.
Spread Joy, Not Foodborne Illness
The holidays are packed with delectable treats for our bellies. From full roast dinners to delicious seasonal desserts, we gleefully fill our plates without batting an eye (diets are for the new year!). However, it's smart to be mindful of what you're serving, or eating, if you didn't prepare it yourself. Whether you're planning a 12-course tasting menu or a buffet of tasty bits, these holiday party safety tips can help:
- Always wash your hands before preparing or touching food.
- Store food at the proper temperatures. Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot.
- If you're cooking meat, use a meat thermometer to make sure it reaches the correct temperature.
- Keep raw foods away from cooked foods to eliminate risk of cross-contamination. Always use separate utensils, cutting boards and other food prep materials for raw and cooked food, too.
- Be mindful of any guests with potential allergies or sensitivities. Consider asking guests prior to the party if they have allergies or if there are items they can't eat. If certain dishes with these ingredients can't be left off the menu, be sure to mark them accordingly and/or let your guests know.
- Put away any unfinished food within two hours so it doesn't spoil.
- If there are kids at the party, be sure to clear away any leftover food/alcohol/tobacco products within the reach of little exploring hands.
Cheers to Drinking Responsibly
No holiday party safety guide is complete without a mention of careful alcohol consumption. The holiday season brings countless moments to celebrate. Before you know it, you've had a glass of champagne with your spouse, a shot with your best friend and a craft beer with your coworker - and those boozy beverages add up. There's nothing wrong with a couple of drinks in the proper setting, but making sure your party guests have a safe way to get home that doesn't involve getting behind the wheel is the best present you can give them. If a guest is ready to call it a night, but isn't capable of driving, be prepared by:
- Keeping a couple of taxi company numbers on-hand.
- Installing a ride-sharing app on your mobile device that they can use.
- Suggesting he/she call a trusted friend for a ride or catch the last bus.
QuickTip: Hosts might consider arranging for a designated driver to be present who won't be drinking at all. It's also not a bad idea to have a guest room ready, or a couch set up for sleep, just in case.
More useful holiday party safety tips can be found on the Consumer Reports and The National Safety Council websites. Parents can also find some child-related tips on HealthyChildren.org. For more information on various safety topics, browse the QuickSeries® library of guides, including Safety at School, Safety at Home and Keep Your Identity Safe.