If you don't have kids, there are probably knives, prescriptions drugs, poison, and electronics lying everywhere. But now the family is coming to visit with something that could destroy everything you love: Children.
Before you call your mommy blogging friends to tell them I hate children, just chill out for a second. Kids are awesome, and celebrating the holidays without kids is sort of depressing. A bunch of adults in their pajamas opening presents is the opening to a David Mamet play if I ever saw one.
I'm here to help you protect the children. Well them, but also your awesome, precious, valuable stuff from the grimy hands of said heathens little angels. With a little preparation, everyone can have a happy holiday.
Figure out anything that you don't want touched. That includes consoles, special edition items, anything sharp, anything a kid can shove in their mouth or up their nose. Figure out what needs to be put out of the reach of children.
Get down on your hands and knees and crawl around. You're going to find things that will entice a kid that you wouldn't normally see. That shiny Klingon blade that fell under the couch. You wouldn't have seen it if you weren't crawling around (maybe if you just woke up from being passed-out drunk, but that's another story). Regardless, see what they see and remove anything harmful/valuable.
Anything that's you think is even remotely toxic should be stored on top of your refrigerator or in a medicine cabinet. Medicines, chap stick, mouth wash, deodorant — hell, even toothpaste — should be stored in the medicine cabinet. I can't stress how important it is to keep any and all medicine away from children. My little brother had to get his stomach pumped because he ate too many children's aspirins. The same can be said about anything sharp. Get it away from the kids.
Pick a room or rooms in your place where the kid isn't allowed to enter. Tell the parent that you've filled the room with all the things that will hurt their precious child. Even if it's just your Doctor Who collection, the thought of their kid getting injured should keep them out. It's probably a good idea to make the off-limits room your bedroom. That way you can keep an eye on your stuff. This is where you'll put precious (fragile) items. If you collect action figures or anything that resembles a toy, put it in a box and store it in your room before the kids arrive. Having "toys" within sight and not letting a kid play with them is cruel.
If you can't designate an area where kids are off-limits, put those Amazon.co.uk boxes you have lying around to good use. Box up your awesome items. When the kids leave, just think of it as a second Christmas.
Toddlers and infants will put anything they can get their hands on in their mouth. Anything! Food, batteries, change, etc. Figure out how high up the toddler can reach and put everything at least a foot above that. That means the bottom of your book shelves will probably be empty. If you have a desk, move your keyboard up and out of the way or just disconnect it all together. The same goes for your mouse. If you value your smartphone, or laptop, don't leave them on the coffee table. I've seen a toddler grab a DSLR and throw it across a room. Your lightweight tech is no match for baby strength.
Loved by hobbyist and riot police alike, the zip tie is a magical piece of plastic. The cabinets in your bathroom and kitchen are poison playgrounds. With some carefully placed zip ties, you can keep these cabinets closed and little Timmy out of the ER. Note: Be sure to pick up some wire cutters. You'll want to be able to snip the zip ties when the kids leave.
If you're a real nerd, every outlet in your house is currently being utilised right? Well for the few remaining outlets you should run down to the hardware store and get some outlet covers. They're only a few pounds and they keep kids from grabbing forks and electrocuting themselves.
Keep it down. Babies love playing in the toilet. They're disgusting little beasts.
If you have stairs, tell your family. They should bring along one of those baby fences. In fact, tell them to bring the baby fence regardless. You can use it to keep the kid out of the kitchen, bathroom, or the room where you keep your Salma Hayek shrine.
Do not give the kids anything that's sticky to eat. Peanut butter, chocolate, jam-filled anything will coat their little hands with sticky ooze. That sticky ooze will eventually end up on your 46-inch LED 3DTV. If the parents bring any foods like that along, invest in baby wipes and keep an eye on the kid.
Remember, some parents have given up on having anything nice in their house. They had kids, realised that it was a folly to buy a Playstation 3 and not have it filled with toast crumbs. So don't be surprised if your family members have a blasé attitude towards your nerd stash. It's up to you to keep your stuff and littlest family members safe.
Image credit: Kid from Shutterstock