(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )

The holidays are like open season for burglars and other ne'er-do-wells. With many households adding an array of new, expensive gifts (often spread out attractively and conveniently under a tree) or leaving for extended periods over the next month, we're practically tempting thieves. Here are a few things we can do keep to keep our homes secure over the holidays.

1. When traveling, set a timer for lights. Or, if you're friendly with your neighbors, consider asking one or more to bring in your mail and turn lights on and off.
2. It's exciting to get a new flat television (ahem, ya hear me Santa?) and once you turn it on it's easy to get distracted and just plop the box outside for the garbage. Well you may as well hang out a sign that says FREE TV HERE. Break down your boxes and stash them in the recycling can or put them in large bags before you set them outside.
3. Deadbolt your door every time, even if you're just leaving for a ten minute jaunt to pick up a little more evaporated milk for the pumpkin pie.
4. If you're going to put your Christmas tree in a very visible front window, don't put your wrapped gifts on display. If you really enjoy the tradition of presents under the tree, put them out on Christmas Eve.
5. I love social media as much as the next person but does everyone need to know that you're out of state at your grandma's house for the next week? Keep your exact location offline. Advertising that your house is empty is not a good idea.
6. If you're going to be away from home for more than a few days, place a hold on newspaper and mail delivery. A stoop littered with newspapers or an overflowing mailbox are sure signs that someone is on vacation and no one is looking after the homestead.