Thieves taking Christmas gift deliveries from porches; house fires caused by holiday cooking or a tree or decoration; these are just some of the hazards of the holiday season.


A report prepared for found 23 million people have lost a gift package delivery to theft. The survey found that a lot of Americans have also faced very serious hazards during the holidays.

They found a total of 18 million people had a house fire because of careless holiday cooking or a tree or other decoration. In addition, 16 million people have suffered a house fire because of a fryer or cooking and 2 million had a fire that was caused by a Christmas tree or other decoration.

"A lot of the hazards around at this time of year have to do with the fact that we are just doing things differently," senior analyst Laura Adams said. "We are out of our ordinary routines. We are bringing in decorations into our homes that are different. We are cooking, perhaps more or differently than we did the rest of the year, and so our guard is just down."

Adams said 23-million people have had packages stolen before they had a chance to open them. She said often, thieves are watching delivery trucks to see if someone opens the door and takes a package.

"If the package just sits out in the open on a porch, they may just take the opportunity to run up, grab your package and run off with it," Adams said.

Also, a lot of people are giving jewelry as gifts for the holidays. Adams reminds consumers that if you are the recipient of a gift, you are the one who is responsible for making sure that it is insured. Otherwise, if you lose that gift or if it's stolen, you really will not have a way to pay for it.

According to Adams, it all comes down to having items and property covered under your homeowner's policy, or, if you are a renter, getting renter's insurance.

Adams also said that if someone has too much to drink and leaves your party and hurts themselves or someone else, you could be held liable. She says while this season is supposed to be joyous, it is also a time to be cautious.

"Be patient," she said. "Remember that other people around you are probably in a rush, they are feeling the distress of the holidays."

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor at New Jersey 101.5.

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