How to Avoid Holiday Injuries: Practice These Ergonomic Tips in [2023]

As the Holidays approach, you may need to take on extra tasks to prepare. With all the work that comes with decorating, wrapping gifts, cooking, and cleaning, your body can become overwhelmed.

The repetitive motions and awkward positions of many holiday activities increase injury risk. But, with some simple ergonomic tips, you can enjoy the season without ending up on the couch with an ice pack. 

In this article, find out how to enjoy all the seasonal activities and easily avoid holiday injuries. Let’s start! 

How do Holiday Injuries Happen?

The holidays often mean extra time off work, celebrations, travel, and festivities with friends and family. Unfortunately, it also brings an increased risk of ergonomic injuries.

So, how do these injuries happen? Many factors contribute, such as:

  • Excessive standing, walking, and physical activity during shopping, cooking, cleaning, and events
  • Reaching, lifting, and moving heavy decorations, luggage, gifts, and groceries 
  • Increased stress and lack of normal exercise routines 
  • Irregular sleep schedules and consumption of alcohol or caffeine 

As we dive into the festive spirit, let's explore how some common holiday activities can lead to injuries if not approached with caution and awareness.

1. Wrapping Gifts for Hours during the Holidays

Gift wrapping during the holiday season is a delightful and cherished activity that brings extra joy to festive celebrations. As a matter of fact, this creative endeavor is more than just a practical necessity; it's a joyful expression of thoughtfulness and care for the recipients. 

Common Injuries When Gift Wrapping

When wrapping gifts during the holidays, it's easy to get caught up in the festivities and forget ergonomics. However, poor posture and repetitive movements can lead to injuries such as:

Lower Back Strain

Because you have to bend and lift things for long periods while wrapping gifts, your lower back may get strained. Long-term bending over or leaning forward stresses the muscles in your lower back, leading to pain and even injury. 

Repetitive Motion Injuries

When you do the same wrapping motions over and over, you can get repetitive motion injuries such as tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome. The repetitive nature of cutting, folding, and taping can strain these areas, leading to pain and inflammation.

Poor Posture

Maintaining poor posture during gift wrapping, such as slouching or hunching, can contribute to muscle imbalances and discomfort. Incorrect posture stresses the spine, leading to back pain.

Joint Stiffness

The repetitive nature of gift wrapping, especially using hands and wrists, can cause joint stiffness. Constant bending and flexing of the fingers and wrists may reduce the range of motion, making simple tasks uncomfortable.

Ergonomic Tips

Gift wrapping can be repetitive and physically demanding, especially if not done ergonomically. Here are useful tips for gift wrapping made easy:

1. Avoid Wrapping on the Floor

Choose a raised surface like a table or countertop instead of sitting on the floor for gift wrapping. Sitting on the floor for too long can strain your back and neck because you have to bend and look down a lot. Using a higher surface helps you keep a more comfortable posture, reducing the chances of hurting your back or neck.

2. Sit on a Neutral Chair

Select a chair that equips good support and allows you to sit in a neutral position. A neutral position means sitting with your back straight and your feet flat on the ground. This helps reduce stress on your back and muscles, making the wrapping process more comfortable and less likely to cause injuries.

3. Keep Items Within Reach

Arrange all your wrapping tools and materials so you can easily reach them. This prevents you from overstretching or reaching too far, which can strain your shoulders and back. Keeping everything within arm's length smoother the wrapping process and helps avoid muscle fatigue and discomfort.

4. Use Proper Lifting Techniques

When lifting heavier gift items or boxes, use proper techniques to protect your back. Bend your knees instead of your back, keep the object close to your body, and lift using your leg muscles. This technique minimizes strain on your lower back, reducing the risk of injuries associated with lifting improperly.

Recommended Products for Gift Wrapping

Recommended Products


How It Helps Avoid Ergonomic Injuries

Standing Desk

Adjustable height for sitting or standing; spacious surface area

Supports good posture, reduces strain on the back and neck

Ergonomic Office Chair

Lumbar support, adjustable height and armrests, comfortable padding

Promotes a healthy sitting position, minimizes back and neck discomfort

Ergonomic Mouse Pad

Cushioned support, non-slip base, wrist rest

Reduces wrist strain, provides comfort during mouse usage

Desk Office Lamp

Adjustable brightness levels, anti-glare features

Enhances lighting conditions, reduces eye strain and discomfort

Anti-Fatigue Lamp

Cushioned support, non-slip surface, durable material

Eases fatigue during prolonged standing, supports leg and foot comfort

2. Shopping and Lifting Heavy Items

During the holiday season, shopping and lifting heavy items become a fun adventure! In particular, when you go shopping, the stores are decorated with festive decorations, making everything look magical. You might even go with your family or friends, making it a special time to be together and share ideas.

Common Injuries When Gift Wrapping

The holidays often mean long shopping trips and lots of time on your feet, which can lead to ergonomic injuries if you're not careful. Here are some injuries to know:

Back and Knee Strain

Shopping and lifting heavy items can lead to back and knee strain, especially when lifting incorrectly. When you bend over or squat to pick up heavy objects, it puts stress on your lower back and knees. This strain can cause pain or even injury. 

Muscle Fatigue

Carrying heavy shopping bags or lifting items repeatedly can result in muscle fatigue. This happens when your muscles are overworked and tired. Fatigued muscles are more prone to injuries and can cause discomfort. 

Uneven Load Distribution

Unevenly distributing the weight of shopping bags or heavy items can lead to injuries. When you carry bags on one side or lift objects with uneven weight distribution, it can strain your muscles and joints. 

Ergonomic Tips

Shopping on holiday can lead to ergonomic injuries if you're not careful. Here are some tips to avoid strain and stay healthy this season:

1. Carry Small Amounts at a Time

When carrying groceries or gifts during the holidays, make multiple trips to avoid injury. Carry only what you can handle safely in one load.

In that sense, take two or three lighter bags per trip instead of bringing all the bags. This reduces the amount of weight you're carrying and minimizes the risk of strains or sprains. Your back and muscles will thank you, especially if you walk long from the car to your home.

2. Distribute Weight Symmetrically

When lifting heavy boxes or decorations during the holidays, it's important to distribute the weight symmetrically to avoid injury. Rather than holding the entire weight on one side of your body, share the load evenly between both sides.

Other than that, to help your holiday shopping day safe, follow some of these ergonomic tips:

Carry Boxes Close to Your Body

Hold the box close to your torso as you lift and carry it. Don't extend your arms out, which puts strain on your back. Keeping the weight centered over your core muscles helps prevent twisting motions that can lead to injury.

Ask for Help

Don't lift and carry heavy or awkwardly shaped boxes yourself. Consider asking a friend or a family member for additional help or assistance. Two people can share the weight and reduce the risk of drops or slips if one person loses their grip or balance.

3. Spread Out Shopping

Spreading your shopping during the holiday season is key to avoiding ergonomic injuries. Rather than cramming it all into a single weekend, do your shopping several weeks before the holidays.

Here's how you can do it:

Make a List

Make a gift list and break it into smaller chunks to complete each week. Focus on different categories of gifts or different groups of people each time you shop. This prevents you from carrying heavy bags of gifts for long periods and reduces the physical strain.

Shop Online When Possible

For some gifts, shop online to avoid crowded stores. Look for free shipping offers and schedule items to arrive throughout the season. This reduces time spent driving, parking, and standing in line. 

3. Putting Up Decorations

Putting up decorations during the holiday season is fun and magical! It's like turning your home into a winter wonderland filled with joy.

First, there's the excitement of unpacking all the colorful decorations, like sparkly ornaments and twinkling lights. As you start hanging things up, you get creative and make your space festive and cozy.

The best part? Climbing up on a ladder or reaching high places to put up decorations feels like a little adventure, adding to the holiday spirit.

Common Injuries When Putting Up Decorations

Putting up decorations during the holidays often requires awkward positions and repetitive movements that can lead to injuries such as:

Overextension of the Spine

Spending long hours decorating during the holidays can lead to overextension of your spine. Your spine extends when you bend forward, backward, or sideways at the waist. Reaching, twisting, and repetitive movements while in these positions strain your back muscles and ligaments.

Fall Risks

Decorating often involves working at heights, increasing the risk of falls. Falls can result in injuries ranging from minor bumps to more severe fractures

Shoulder Strain

Repetitive actions, such as hanging decorations or holding objects overhead, can lead to shoulder strain. This strain affects the muscles and tendons around the shoulder joint, causing pain and discomfort.

Ergonomic Tips

Here are some ergonomic tips to keep in mind:

1. Use Proper Body Mechanics

When doing chores like decorating during the holidays, it's easy to forget ergonomics and proper body mechanics. However, practicing good posture and movements can help prevent injuries and pain.

Here's how to do it:

  1. Bend at your knees and keep your back straight when picking up heavy boxes or bags. 
  2. Hold objects close to your body and avoid twisting motions. 
  3. Take breaks when moving furniture or decorations.
2. Perform Gentle Warm-Up Exercises 

Doing gentle warm-up exercises before physically demanding holiday tasks can help prevent ergonomic injuries. With that, do simple stretches like shoulder rolls, neck stretches, and torso twists. Slowly roll your shoulders in circles, tilt your head side to side, or twist your torso. These movements increase blood flow to your muscles and joints, preparing them for activity.

Remember, a few minutes of light movement will prime your body for the holiday hustle and bustle, reducing your risk of strains, sprains, or other injuries. Take it slow and avoid bouncing or jerking motions.

3. Utilize Proper Equipment

Choose and use proper equipment to avoid trip hazards. Use stable ladders or step stools when working at heights, ensuring they are on a level surface. If needed, invest in ergonomic tools designed to reduce strain on your body.

Proper equipment not only makes tasks easier but also minimizes the risk of falls and injuries associated with using inadequate or unsafe tools.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How can ergonomics help you reduce work accidents?

Ergonomics is like arranging your work area to fit you better so you don't get hurt. For instance, if you're wrapping gifts or putting up decorations, using a chair or a counter at the right height can keep your back happy. This way, you can avoid workplace injuries during holiday season without any unexpected troubles. 

What does good ergonomics mean?

Good ergonomics means setting up your workspace or activities to keep you comfortable and safe. To protect yourself from ergonomic hazards, you can adjust your computer screen to eye level, use tools that fit your hand well, and take breaks to stretch and move. It's like creating a safe and cozy environment that fits you just right, ensuring your body doesn't get tired or strained. 

Implement The Best Ergonomic Tips for Enjoyable Holiday

During the Holidays, take extra care of yourself physically with these ergonomic tips. Remember, once the season has passed, your health and safety should be a top priority, not an afterthought. Take a step back and focus on what matters.

Did our ways to protect yourself from ergonomic hazards help? Share your thoughts in the comments, and join us for the latest updates!

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