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XMAS Survival Guide

Your mission ( should you choose to accept it ) is to stay alive until the 2nd Jan. During this time you will be exposed to many dangers which can kill you and your family.

1) Danger - Complacency

The first rule of survival is to realise that you are in danger. When you see a lion or a shark you have an instinctive sense of danger.
However when you see a christmas tree you feel perfectly safe - a big mistake.

2) Danger - Xmas Shopping

Yes its true - a lot of people die in the 2 or 3 days before Xmas day. The high street is bursting with traffic and shoppers. The drivers are tired and stressed out. They have been driving in circles for half an hour looking for a parking place. Their only concern is to get the shopping over and done with. They dont notice the pedestrians walking in front of their vehicles.
The pedestrians are also tired and stressed out. They are surrounded by crowds of other people. They dont notice the approaching cars. The shopping list is the only thing on their minds. There is no sense of danger.

3) Danger - Fairy Lights

There are two kinds - high voltage(cheap) and low voltage(more expensive). The low voltage ones come in a heavier larger box with an adapter.
There are 3 big problems with the high voltage type.
a) If one bulb fails then all of them go out (with the low voltage type the others carry on working) They all need to be removed from their sockets and tested individually to find out which one has failed. This is a very fiddly job which takes about 2 hours. There is a high risk of death by electrocution because a lot of people try to wiggle or swap the bulbs while the wires are live. Each set has a slightly different fitting so you cant reuse bulbs from the set you bought last year.
b) The power is not shared evenly between the bulbs - so the weakest bulb will fail sooner.
c) If a bulb is loose the socket carries the full mains voltage - enough to kill you. The voltage can also be transmitted through the tinsel on the Xmas tree because this has a metallic film.
d) Its fairly obvious that high voltage bulbs must not be used out of doors because the moisture can conduct electricity and kill you.
A lot of people dont realise this.

All fairy lights are a serious fire hazard. This is a useful hint for your Xmas shopping list.
All you need to buy is 6 fire extinguishers and replacement batteries for the smoke alarm.

4) Danger - Candles

These are the fastest and most efficient way to cause death and destruction.
Usual methods are:-

a) Place a candle on a shelf.
Leave the room to answer the phone. (Its always an overseas relative)
Small child or pet pulls over Xmas tree.
Tree falls on candle.
Candle falls onto wrapping paper.
Bonfire starts

b) Suspend paper trimmings over table.
Place candles on table for Xmas dinner.
Use party poppers or silly string on guests.
Paper streamers fall over candles.
Fire runs up streamers. Guests hair catches fire.
Fire spreads to paper trimmings on ceiling.
Polystyrene ceiling tiles catch fire.
Burning plastic drips onto guests.
Room is filled with smoke and hydrogen cyanide gas.

5) Danger - Xmas Tree

Some are more fire-resistant than others. All of them have decorations which will burn and generate poison gas. All of them can be pushed over with serious consequences.

a) Small children or pets can easily knock over the tree while you are not present. The tree can fall onto a candle or open fire.
Even if this does not happen the air flow around the fairy lights will be obstructed. This will cause a build up of heat and fire will result.
Even if the tree has not been knocked over the bulbs can catch fire if they are surrounded by tinsel or other material which restricts the air circulation around the bulb.

b) Fixing the tree in position is a high risk activity. You can trip over and get head injuries.

c) After a few days the tree will dry out and start to drop needles on the carpet. Some people will commit suicide by sprinkling on water from a watering can. (These are the same people who bought the high voltage fairy lights.)

6) Danger - Xmas Wrappings

When the presents have been opened the floor will be littered with wrapping paper. Perhaps you might decide to visit the neighbours and leave the dog to play with the wrapping paper. Perhaps you have an open fire......
If you bought the low voltage fairy lights it might be that the adapter gets covered by wrapping paper and starts to overheat.....

7) Danger - Food and Drink

Yes its the time of year for a heart attack.
The turkey leftovers can give you food poisioning.
Alcohol takes away your sense of danger.

8) Danger - Going out to a venue

Are they doing pyrotechnic displays?
Do they have paper decorations hanging from the ceiling?
Do you know where the fire escape is?
Is the fire escape padlocked?
Could you find your way to the fire escape in total darkness?

9) Danger - Relatives

Relatives often smoke cigarettes and leave the butts hidden in armchairs when they go to bed. They are also fond of lighting candles while you are out. They should all be treated as arsonists.

10) Danger - Presents

Of course they new skateboard will be left at the top of the stairs.
Also the children are very keen to get out on their new bikes and throw themselves under the nearest car.

11) Danger - Decorations

The usual method for fixing decorations to the ceiling is to stand on a flimsy chair. The chair is carefully positioned so that when you fall off your head hits a metal radiator.

12) Danger - Dancing

Alcohol is used first of all to remove all sense of danger and objects are scattered on the floor so there are plenty of opportunities to trip over and fall onto sharp metal objects or electric fires.
The danger level can be increased by dancing close to the Xmas tree.

13) Danger - Domestic Arguments

Arguments at Xmas often end in violence and murder. If you have a partner with a bad temper and a taste for alcohol careful planning is needed if you want to see the new year. The most dangerous place for an argument is the kitchen. Make sure the carving knife is hidden away in a different place than usual. Remember that it takes two to create an argument so you can defuse the argument in its early stages with careful thought. A violent argument needs a fast pace to build up steam so if you wait 10secs before each reply this will slow things down and the argument will fizzle out. Another method is create confusion by giving your partner a compliment or agreeing with them. Avoid criticism or counter-accusations. Illness usually works quite well - start blowing your nose and say you have a cold coming on.

And finally.....

Survival IS possible - but do not underestimate the challenge.
The accident and emergency department at your hospital is always packed with people who thought it was easy.