Stay safe as you celebrate this holiday season

Thursday 8 December 2022: Hillingdon Council is urging residents to shop smart and celebrate safely during the festive season.

A group of young people celebrate on a night out
Members of the council's trading standards, food health and safety and licensing teams have all been working hard in recent months to keep to keep the borough safe, but would like to share some tips to help residents celebrate safely as the year draws to a close.

As the cost of living crisis hits households across the borough, it might be tempting to buy much cheaper items, but sometimes the costs might be greater than you think if those items - including toys, cheap vapes and electrical goods - don't meet the UK's stringent safety guidelines.

And as more people flock to restaurants, pubs and clubs during the holiday season, or to watch the football World Cup, residents are being urged to take extra care in the evenings and be aware of risks such as drink-spiking in crowded bars.

If you're watching the football in a pub, it's also worth planning your journey home, as the winter tournament means it will be dark when many of the games are being played.

Everyone enjoys getting together with food and drink during the festive season, but you can still take steps to ensure you dine safely. With the current concerns around bird flu many more people will be buying frozen, or previously frozen turkeys for their festive meal. Always follow the instructions on the label to ensure safe defrosting, storage and cooking. If you're buying a frozen whole turkey you may need extra time to defrost - for bigger birds this could be as much as three to five days in advance of the big day.

The Food Standards Agency is also reminding people to follow the '4Cs', cleaning, chilling, cooking and avoiding cross-contamination, when cooking at home to avoid the risk of food poisoning. Read the guidance at

And if you're eating out with family, friends or colleagues, you can check a restaurant's hygiene rating at

Cllr Eddie Lavery, Hillingdon Council's Cabinet Member for Residents' Services, said: "We absolutely don't want to dampen anyone's spirits this Christmas, but we are duty bound to ensure residents are equipped with the knowledge and awareness to enjoy the season in safety.

"In the current financial climate, with many people struggling, unscrupulous doorstep traders may seek to take advantage of the vulnerable, while other residents may be tempted to buy cheaper goods to save money and so risk bringing counterfeit, or unsafe items into the home.

"And with the World Cup celebrations leading into the party season, it's vital people are drink aware when visiting bars, pubs and clubs."

If you have a gift that you think may be counterfeit, or unsafe, you can find consumer advice at

For food hygiene issues, please visit

Page last updated: 15 Feb 2024