Christmas is a joyous season, a time to shop, to exchange gifts, to be among friends.

But all these joyous things should be done in moderation and with great care. The pickpocket, the thief, the scam artist, all are waiting, for you to make a mistake and let your guard down while youíre shopping or in pursuit of some other personal activity. Thatís all the more reason for you to exercise great care and caution in everything you do when you are out in public.

Let vigilance be your guide. Donít aid the thief by giving him the opportunity to ply his trade on you. Lock your automobile when you leave it. Donít make yourself a target. Donít create a tailor-made opportunity for a thief to rifle through your belongings or in the worst possible scenario, steal your automobile altogether. And when securing your automobile donít forget to close all the windows and the sunroof too if you have one.

Another avoidable issue is leaving gifts or other items of value in plain site. To do so is cultivating the setting for a crime of convenience. Store your valuables in the trunk of your car or otherwise make an effort to cover them in some fashion. Donít offer the visual opportunity for someone to pilfer your property when they otherwise might not be so inclined.

Perhaps the most obvious piece of advice thatís quite overlooked is to be aware of your surroundings. Always be alert. Dress casually, but comfortably, and never wear expensive jewelry. Also when possible donít carry a purse or wallet, and never keep a large amount of cash on your person. If you must carry a purse or a wallet, be very careful, especially in crowded areas like buses or places where people are forced to be close to one another.

Make an attempt to pay for your purchases with a credit card whenever possible, but if you must carry cash, keep it in one of your front pockets. Refrain for overloading yourself with packages because it is important that you are in control, visibility-wise. And take care and caution when strangers approach you for any reason at all.

That being said, hereís a final suggestion. Do your shopping during daylight hours, if possible. But if you must shop at night, try to make arrangements to go with a friend, a group, or somebody in the family.

Although some of these issues seem redundant, paying attention to them is the best way to assure yourself of a joyous (and safe) holiday season.