Tips for Hosting Safe and Successful Holiday Parties

christmas party with wine glasses and christmas tree

The Holiday season is a time of peaceful reflection.

Spending quality time with family, friends, and colleagues is common at this time of year. Whether attending a work party or private residence, there are a number of possible hazards to be aware of during holiday festivities. These hazards can lead to injuries and legal consequences if not properly prepared for.

If you are planning on hosting a holiday get-together this year in the notoriously wintry Maritime provinces, there are some important tips to keep in mind when planning your holiday gathering.

Clear your walk and stairways

In Nova Scotia, the Occupiers Liability Act requires anybody inviting guests into their premises to keep them reasonably safe from foreseeable hazards. This applies to commercial and residential premises alike. If you are hosting a party at your residence, be sure to clear all walkways and stairways of snow and ice by shoveling and/or salting.

Ensure proper lighting

Make sure to also have good lighting in possibly hazardous areas where slips or trips may happen. This includes walkways, driveways, and stairways (outdoor and indoor). Be sure to clear walkways/stairways of any debris such as leaves or overgrown foliage.

Monitor alcohol amounts

If alcohol will be served or consumed at your holiday party, it is important to know what the law expects of you a host. In a private residence, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and monitor your guests’ alcohol consumption. Also note the amount you are providing. Be sure to keep track of who is driving and whether there are ride-sharing arrangements. Make sure to have soft drinks available and try to also serve food if alcohol is being served.

Hold the keys

Most importantly, a party host should always try to limit the possibility of any intoxicated guest operating a motor vehicle. Failure to follow these steps may result in what’s called “social host liability.” For more on social host liability, see the 2006 Supreme Court of Canada decision Childs v. Desormeaux.

Respect the law

Moreover, a party host must be cautious about how alcohol is served in their premises. There are provincial statutes in Nova Scotia such as the Liquor Control Act. This act mandates heavy penalties for the improper sale of liquor or providing alcohol to persons under the age of majority. These penalties include hefty fines and in certain instances, jail time.

Ultimately, the holidays are all about peace and good cheer. Following these tips will help to make sure your holiday gathering is as peaceful and pleasant as possible. If you have any questions about a host’s responsibilities while hosting a holiday party in Nova Scotia, contact our experienced personal injury lawyers for a free consultation.


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