Thanksgiving Day celebrations typically involve family, food and fun. But Thanksgiving can also bring a number of disasters that can wreck the occasion – and wreck your budget too.
Here are 4 Thanksgiving Day disasters to avoid if you want to stay happy, healthy and financially sound this holiday season.
Disaster #1: Food Fires
The National Fire Protection Association says Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires in America. With all the preparations that go into making the Big Meal, cooking fires happen four times as often on Thanksgiving Day versus any other day.
Two big culprits: fires from turkey fryers and various accidents with cooking oil.
Sadly, cooking equipment is the top cause of home fire injuries and the second-leading cause of home fire deaths.
To prevent such disasters from ruining Thanksgiving Day, now is a good time to bone up on two things: cooking safety and your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance.
Some quick tips to remember: keep kids away from stoves, only use fryers outside, and double-check that you have the proper insurance coverage in the event of a fire.
Disaster #2: Household Horrors
Imagine you have a house full of guests over for Thanksgiving, or maybe even out-of-town relatives who are staying with you for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
Now think about what would happen if, in the middle of all the festivities, any appliances broke down or the plumbing malfunctioned in your house. Yikes!
Thanksgiving Day is a horrible time to have your oven or refrigerator stop working or your toilet get backed up. But unfortunately, Thanksgiving is the second busiest time of the year for such problems to occur, according to a study by American Home Shield, the country’s largest network of home-repair contractors.
To avoid these household disasters, do yourself a favor and take two precautions: First, get a check-up for your home systems and appliances. Also, consider getting a good home warranty, which can get a service contractor out to your home quickly and affordably in the event of a breakdown.
Disaster #3: Travel Traumas
Roughly 50 million Americans will travel over the Thanksgiving holiday, according to AAA. But not everyone will make it on time to grandma’s house, or other intended destinations.
AAA had to rescue more than 370,000 motorists last year on Thanksgiving, mainly due to flat tires or dead batteries. With so many people traveling during Thanksgiving, car accidents also spike, as do airline delays for those flying.
One way to protect yourself against these travel traumas is by leaving early when possible. Regardless of whether you plan to drive or fly, by leaving earlier, you don’t have to rush, fight as much traffic or risk missing Thanksgiving dinner.
Also, do some preventive maintenance on your car before you hit the road. Check your battery and tires before leaving, and pack an emergency kit in your vehicle too.
Disaster #4: Family fights
As much as most of us love our family and friends, getting together over the Thanksgiving holiday can also be stressful. Add in some drinking, and maybe a family loan that hasn’t been paid, and things can turn nasty quickly.
You don’t have to banish alcohol from your Thanksgiving gathering, but you can help head off family fights by promoting responsible drinking.
Also if you know of a long-simmering feud in the family over a money issue – one involving you or other relatives – call a truce ahead of time and agree not to cause a scene about the matter at the Thanksgiving Day table. Alternatively, the parties involved can agree beforehand to discuss financial disputes one-on-one, in private.
By planning ahead for potential disasters and taking reasonable precautions to avoid these calamities, you can ensure that your Thanksgiving holiday is happy and memorable for you and those you love.