Fiery festive infernos and attacking mistletoe berries: Here are six ways Christmas is trying to kill you

 
Emma Haslett
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Magical? No. Pointy? Yes. (Source: Getty)

A dystopian future is about to be upon us, in which trees spontaneously burst into flames, man-made machines run out of control and, trapped in small spaces and driven mad by cabin fever, humans turn against one another. This is not a drill. Christmas is almost here.

Are you prepared for the health and health and safety (no time for elf puns here) nightmare that is the festive period? We didn't think so. According to the NHS, more than 80,000 people a year end up in hospital over the festive period.

Here's the ultimate guide to how Christmas is trying to kill you. Be prepared, be vigilant, be safe.

1. Mistletoe

Next time someone goes in for a smooch under the mistletoe, run. Not only is the plant part of the Foxglove family - meaning its berries can slow the heart rate and cause hallucinations - but it is also one of few plans that can propel its seeds out of its berries. They can reach up to 60mph.

2. Christmas trees

Slicing the tip of your finger off as you try to saw off bushy branches; taking your eye out on a particularly pointy star - Christmas trees are hotbeds of peril. In fact, figures by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (Rospa) show 1,000 people a year visit hospital after accidents at home involving festive foliage. O Christmas tree, indeed.

3. Fairy lights

These twinkly harbingers of doom are one of the UK's most under-rated existential threats. Fires involving fairy lights - which are often wrapped around seven-odd feet of festively-decorated kindling - cause 20 fires a year.

Here's a video of just how fast fairy lights can turn your living room into a fiery inferno. Warning: may bring on cries of "Bah, humbug".

4. Baubles

Think Christmas decorations make your home look jolly? Think again. Baubles and other decorations send 1,000 people to hospital each year, as people fall off wobbly chairs and ladders - as well as out of lofts - in an effort to place their decs in just the right spot.

5. Turkey

Just because the bird is dead doesn't mean it can't wreak revenge. Food poisoning from campylobacter, a bacteria associated with poultry, caused 100 deaths and made 3,000 people sick in 2013. And a survey by the FSA last year found 11 million of us leave our turkeys in an "unsafe place" (ie. anywhere other than the fridge) to thaw out. Gobble safely, people.

6. Gifts

Avoid your family unwrapping a Christmas nightmare by giving them a lump of nice, safe coal - they'll thank you in the long term. Lest we forget, earlier this month Amazon told customers to throw away this year's hottest Christmas gift, the hoverboard, over safety concerns. Apparently many of the two-wheeled scooters don't conform with safety standards - and that's before all the broken bones and head injuries caused by people falling off them.

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