7 security tips for protecting your home over the Christmas holidays

Have yourself a safer Merry Christmas with these expert-approved home security tips

An Arlo outdoor security camera in the snow
(Image credit: Arlo Community)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… and sadly, some burglars think so too. In true Harry and Marv style, many intruders will attempt to break into homes during the festive season, taking full advantage of the darker evenings and expensive gifts on display.

To prevent any break-ins and avoid being a target of theft, I spoke to experts from Essential Living who gave me seven security tips for protecting your home over the Christmas holidays.

1. Invest in a smart security camera

The best way to keep your home safe is by investing in smart home security for both inside and outside your premises. Investing in the best security camera helps you keep your home safe, secure and gives you peace of mind while you’re out and about. Having one installed captures all footage from around your home and can detect movement and sounds that will then be sent to you via email or app notifications.

Essential Living experts recommend investing in “outdoor censored lights that come on when someone approaches the property, as burglars don’t want to be seen and will avoid being directly under the spotlight.” With this in mind, look out for a security camera that has a built-in spotlight or siren.

2. Create a layered security system

In addition to having a security camera, create a layered security system with multiple cameras and other smart home gadgets that detect motion. Essential Living suggests to “utilise a layered approach, opting for an alarm and cameras that will not only alert you if a thief does attempt to break in but also prevent them from trying.”

To start your multi-layered security system, choose both an outdoor and indoor camera and one of the best video doorbells. Video doorbells give you another field of view outside your house and can capture crucial footage, particularly as the front door tends to be the most ‘broken into’ area of the house. Another thing to consider is a smart sensor which you can install next to doors and windows around your house to alert you to any strange movements.

The best cheap security cameras

(Image credit: Canva)

3. Appear to be at home with lighting

Unsurprisingly, burglars don’t want to get caught breaking into your home and stealing your belongings, so they’re less likely to target a house if it looks like you’re home. Essential Living points out that “rooms without lights on, an empty drive, piling up mail and packages on the doorstep are all telltale signs that no one is in, so before setting off, ensure you have left lights on or used automatic timers to keep windows lit in the evenings.”

The best smart lights are the best way to do this as you can set schedules for your lights to come on and you can quickly switch them on or off via an app while you’re away from home. Essential Living also suggests asking trusted neighbours to take in any parcels and even park in your driveway when you’re away to put off potential intruders.

4. Lock all doors and windows

This next tip might sound obvious but it only takes one accident to result in someone taking their chance and breaking into your house. Always remember to lock all your doors and windows when you’re out for the day or going away over the holiday period. Essential Living says to “do a quick sweep to ensure everything is locked up and keys are removed from windows and doors, as burglars may be able to reach through cat flaps and letterboxes to reach them.” For tighter security, you can also invest in the best smart lock.

5. Don’t leave gifts on display

Christmas presents under the tree

(Image credit: Roman Odintsov / Pexels)

Leaving your Christmas presents under the tree is fun and festive… but it can tempt burglars into breaking in and stealing your gifts. “If your Christmas tree is visible from a window, particularly a front window, this can look like a shopping display for burglars scoping out homes to break into. Instead, keep all presents in a secure, hidden location within your house, like the attic or a cupboard in an upstairs bedroom,” says Essential Living.

6. Keep your garden clear and tidy

Winter is typically the time where many of us let our garden run riot but having an untidy garden can be very tempting to burglars. This is because “thieves look for escape routes and hiding spots when deciding which homes to break into, making gardens with high, overgrown hedges more likely to be targeted,” says Essential Living. To avoid this, make sure to give your garden a tidy by trimming the hedges and locking up any tools that could assist a burglar, like ladders or spades.

7. Avoid posting on social media

Finally, be careful what you’re posting on social media during the Christmas season, particularly if you’re going away for the holidays. With so much information available and accessible online, “burglars can find social media accounts from your name and address, and it’s not uncommon for people to be burglarised by people who know them, whether through extended friends or the local area,” says Essential Living. While it’s fun to post what you got or what you’re doing for Christmas, try to refrain from posting pictures about your gifts and your holiday until you’re back home.

Bethan Girdler-Maslen
Home Editor

Beth is Home Editor for T3, looking after style, living and wellness. From the comfiest mattresses to what strange things you can cook in an air fryer, Beth covers sleep, yoga, smart home, coffee machines, grooming tools, fragrances, gardening and much more. If it's something that goes in your house, chances are Beth knows about it and has the latest reviews and recommendations! She's also in the know about the latest deals and discount codes from top brands and retailers.

Having always been passionate about writing, she’s written for websites, newspapers and magazines on a variety of topics, from jewellery and culture, to food and telecoms. You can find her work across numerous sites, including Wedding Ideas Magazine, Health & Wellbeing, The Bristol Post, Fashion & Style Directory, TechRadar, CreativeBloq and more. In her spare time, Beth enjoys running, reading, baking and attempting craft projects that will probably end in disaster!