Christmas is celebrated to remember the birth of Jesus Christ, who Christians believe is the Son of God. The name 'Christmas' comes from the Mass of Christ (or Jesus). A Mass service (which is sometimes called Communion or Eucharist) is where Christians remember that Jesus died for us and then came back to life.
When autumn has given way to winter and snow covers the ground, and lights twinkle from house to house, you know Christmas is coming. Decorated Christmas trees are everywhere you look. Presents crowd for space under the tree and families come together for a turkey feast. Christmas is one of the most important Christian and cultural holidays of the year, but what is the true meaning of Christmas?
- Is it the gifts?
- Is it the annual economic boost?
The Christmas season, especially in the West, is a mix of pre-Christian, Christian, and secular traditions. What’s interesting is the etymology of the word Christmas. It literally means Christian Mass. It’s a shortened form of Christ’s Mass.
Christmas is a time of spiritual reflection on the important foundations of the Christian faith. It’s also a celebration. It’s when Christians celebrate God’s love for the world through the birth of the Christ child: Jesus.
The Bible tells of his birth hundreds of years before, fulfilling prophecies. The Christmas story is recorded in Luke 2:4-19
North Wales Fire & Rescue Service would like to ensure everyone has a safe and happy festive season and asks that you take a moment to read our top tips for keeping you and your family safe this Christmas and New Year.
Christmas is a time for celebrations, with many family and friends coming together to enjoy the festivities. During December the monthly average number of fires, injuries and fatalities more than doubles. Take extra care at Christmas it is easy to become distracted with so much going on it is easy for disaster to strike. Please follow our advice for keeping safe this Christmas and New Year.
- Ensure you have working smoke alarms installed on every level of your home. A working alarm can give you and your family the vital time needed to escape a fire.
- Ensure you test your smoke alarms weekly.
- NEVER remove the batteries from your smoke alarms.
- Make a fire escape plan and discuss it with your family. Ensure any visiting friends and family are aware of the escape plan too.
- Ensure you have a bedtime safety check routine. Check Christmas lights are off, cigarettes are out, candles are out and electrics are off (where possible) before you go to bed.
- Don't overload sockets. Ensure only one plug per socket.
- Always turn off plugs when they are not in use, except those that are designed to be left on, like freezers.
Enjoying a drink at Christmas
- The direct cause of 25% of all fires can be attributed to alcohol.
- In 33% of all fires alcohol consumption was a contributing factor.
- Don’t Drink and Drive – get those taxis booked for any nights out.
- Never cook after drinking – you can easily become distracted.
- The majority of fires start in the kitchen so this is a high risk area. Many of us enjoy a merry tipple over the festive season but be sure to avoid cooking whilst under the influence of alcohol.
- If you've been out for the night get a take away rather than attempt to cook.
- Turn off all appliances when you have finished cooking.
- Be wary of being distracted due to a houseful of guests.
- Never leave cooking unattended.
- Keep candles away from decorations, Christmas trees, cards, wrapping paper, fires, lights and heaters.
- Never leave burning candles unattended.
- Ensure candles are out of reach from pets and children.
- Unplug Christmas lights when you're going to bed or leaving the house.
- Check lights conform to a safety standard, e.g. British Standard 60598
- Always use an RCD (residual current device) on outdoor electrical equipment. This safety device can save lives by instantly switching off the power if there is a fault and can be found in any DIY store.
- Don't overload sockets with too many lights.
- Don't block exits with Christmas trees, presents etc.
- If you are using extra heaters ensure they are away from curtains, sofas, Christmas trees and decorations etc.
- Put your cigarette out, right out. Make sure your cigarette is fully extinguished and take care when under the influence of alcohol or tired. It's very easy to fall asleep while your cigarette is still burning and set furniture alight.
Christmas safety tips
- Remember to buy batteries for toys that need them – that way you won't be tempted to remove batteries from smoke alarms.
- Keep decorations and cards away from fires and other heat sources such as light fittings and don't leave burning candles unattended.
- Give yourself enough time to prepare and cook Christmas dinner to avoid accidents that come from rushing, and wipe up any spills quickly.
- Beware of trailing cables and wires in the rush to connect new gadgets and appliances, and always read the instructions.
- Falls are the most common accidents so try to keep clutter to a minimum and make sure stairs are well-lit and free from obstacles.