While Christmas is the time of the year where we get to exchange gifts with friends and family. For some, it is the time of the year to prey on innocent people who are merely trying to do their best to help others. While everyone doesn't have those intentions, there are many out there. We need to make sure that we can keep our loved ones safe during this time and ourselves as well.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when my wife likes to run to the store, and the time catches up with her. I have always been a proponent of trying to take care of your shopping early before it gets dark. It has nothing to do with keeping our spouses in the house, but everything to do with making sure they are safe at home with us. If you or someone you know has to do their shopping and may take a little longer than expected, here are some tips on how you can at least try and keep yourself safe.

Be Cautious Of Surroundings: I highly recommend that before you get out of your vehicle, or even leave your house, make sure you are aware of your surroundings. Take the time to look around, and notice those who are standing around, or possibly walking near you.

Always keep your keys in your hand: If you are arriving home, make sure you have your house key in hand to be able to readily open the door. If you are going to your vehicle, unlock it as you're walking up to your car. Even better if you have an auto-start to make getting in your car and leaving a little quicker.

Travel with someone where possible: Consider going out as a group and shopping. Not only will you have someone to talk to while you shop. But in most cases, I would like to believe that anyone considering committing a crime or harm would shy away from a group of people.

Secure Your purse: If you have to carry a purse then make sure you hold on to it tightly. I would recommend finding something a little smaller to carry that can be tucked away as to not bring attention to yourself.

Remember the location of where you parked and find a well-lit location: This is self-explanatory if you are going to a big shopping center or grocery store. Make sure to park in a well-lit area and remember where you parked. If you are roaming the parking lot and seem lost, you are making yourself an easy victim of any potential crimes.

These are just small notes and there are plenty more that you may want to consider. When it comes to the holidays you should practice safety and that of your loved ones as well.

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