How not to get burgled this Christmas – home security experts reveal 6 top tips

Protect your home from uninvited guests this holiday season

green front door with wreath and sled with Christmas presents
(Image credit: Future PLC)

Christmas is a time of festivities and cheer, from dinner parties to gift-giving and celebrations. However, the promise of an abundance of gifts and people leaving their homes unoccupied to visit friends and family also incurs a 38.11% increase in burglaries at this time of year.

Recent research by ADT has shown an increased risk of theft and home burglaries taking place during the holidays. Home security experts have shared their tips on how to prevent burglary while you're away from home for Christmas, from online safety to practical tips.

Living room with fire, decorated mantlepiece and Christmas tree with baubles and lights

(Image credit: Future PLC/Joanna Henderon)

How to prevent burglary this Christmas

1. Keep gifts out of sight

As we would naturally hide valuable items from view when away from home, the same should go for presents under the Christmas tree.

'Although having wrapped presents under the tree looks nice, for potential thieves looking through the window, it shows exactly where potentially expensive, resellable items are,' says Beth Priestley, home security expert at ToolStation.

Keeping gifts out of sight extends beyond when you're away from home, but also exercising caution with what you post on social media. Glenn Amato, managing director at ADT warns, 'Any images or videos of gifts under the tree, being bought or in the wrapping process can alert burglars that there will be goods left in the property during the build-up to Christmas day.'

artificial christmas tree in living room

(Image credit: Future PLC / Brent Darby)

2. Plan deliveries carefully

'A parcel on the front step is a tell-tale sign that the house is unoccupied,' says Beth Priestley at ToolStation. 'And Christmas gift shopping means lots of deliveries. Plus, with strikes this year, these deliveries may arrive all at once, piling up.'

Not only are your parcels at risk of being nabbed by passersby, but they signal that you're away. We know that it's almost impossible to gauge deliveries with the current strikes, but where possible, schedule deliveries to arrive when you're at home or get them delivered to your place of work or other reliable locations where someone will be in.

green front door with wreath and sled with Christmas presents

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

3. Avoid sharing your plans online

It can be extremely tempting to share every detail of your holiday plans on social media – but it's important to be wary of what you choose to share.

Posting online about going to visit family and friends for an extended period of time during the festive season is an easy way for burglars to know when your home will be empty. Glenn Amato at ADT advises to 'leave the location tags off your posts, and save some posts until you're back home.'

Grey home office with computer on desk

(Image credit: Future Plc/Simon Whitmore)

4. Don't accidentally give strangers a tour of your home

We love seeing how people have decorated their homes for Christmas as much as the next person, but again, it's all about safety online. 'Be careful not to your property layout, as this could show possible entrances and exits,' warn home security experts at ADT.

Additionally, if you successfully figured out how to decorate your front door for Christmas with the best Christmas wreath, be wary to not show off your entire front door on social media.

If you're keen to share your decor, try to focus images on specific things and take photos and videos of your decorations close up to avoid giving burglars free information about your home.

Front door of red brick house with asymmetrical christmas display

(Image credit: Future PLC)

5. Opt for smart plugs and timer switches

If you're looking for extra security while away from home, opting for smart plugs and timer switches is one of the most efficient ways to make your home look lived in. Not only will they help you save energy at home, but also give off the impression that your home is occupied.

'A plug-in timer allows you to programme electrical devices to automatically come on at certain times – a great way to make it look like somebody’s in the house while you’re away,' says Beth Priestley at ToolStation.

Christmas house makeover with kitchen dining area in blue

(Image credit: Future PLC / Katie Lee)

6. Stay hot on home security

Of course, last but certainly not least – investing in the best home security system is guaranteed to not fail you, especially if you'll be away for Christmas. Ensure you've checked and set your alarms before leaving your home unattended. It might even be worth considering installing a fully integrated smart home security system.

Glenn Amato at ADT says, 'Systems with add-ons such as cameras and door bells provide an extra layer of protection which means you don’t have to worry about having an unexpected visitor, especially if you plan on going away for the holidays.' 

Decorated Christmas tree in furnished living room

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Our routines change around the holiday season, and thieves capitalise on this to look for opportunities to overstay their welcome in our homes. But taking the necessary precautions to ensure your home is safe from uninvited guests doesn't have to be difficult.

Stay safe this festive season and happy holidays!

Amy Cutmore

Amy Cutmore is an experienced interiors editor and writer, who has worked on titles including Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, GardeningEtc, Top Ten Reviews and Country Life. And she's a winner of the PPA's Digital Content Leader of the Year. A homes journalist for two decades, she has a strong background in technology and appliances, and has a small portfolio of rental properties, so can offer advice to renters and rentees, alike. 

With contributions from