There are some annoying and even dangerous combinations this time of year, which all of us should be aware of or reminded about.
* Snow or frozen water and driving.
Kurt Spitzner, operations manager and instructor for the Bridgestone Winter Driving School, said there are many ideas to keep in mind when driving in the snow or on frozen surfaces.
He said one of the most important is that while you may be confident in your own driving ability or your own snow tires, you aren't aware of the skills or road safety of those around you.
"You may have winter tires on your car but you might not know if the person in front of you or more importantly the guy behind you has them," he said. "Maintaining distance becomes important because you really don't know how the vehicles around you will perform."
And he said the beginning and end of the winter driving season is the most dangerous.
"During the transition, fall to winter or winter to spring, is when the road conditions are the most changeable," he said. "In the dead of winter, we have all gotten used to it and the temperature of the road stays consistent."
And all-season tires aren't the safest, particularly when temperatures are extremely cold, he said, noting how these types of tires can become very hard in really cold weather.
"Hard rubber on a slick surface does not offer much grip," he said.
Aside from having the right equipment, Spitzner said taking one's time and slowing down are imperative.
"If you are trying to drive in winter conditions with a time constraint on yourself, the outcome is never going to be pleasant," he said, noting how a 25-minute commute will quickly become a 40-minute drive in the winter.
He said to slow down when needing to brake or turn.
"Get rid of more speed than you think you should and the breaking or cornering will come out better than you thought it would," he said.
And he said time of day always should be considered.
"Just because it's time for you to go home doesn't mean it's time to go home," he said, noting that the sun often goes down at the same time that a lot of rush-hour traffic takes place, making road surfaces unpredictable.
Spitzner said he often goes to eat dinner or hangs out in the office until a more hard freeze has taken place, firming up the road, which makes him arrive home later but gives him a chance to drive in safer conditions.
* Candles and anything flammable.
"During our winter months, more candle fires start in living rooms, dens, dining rooms and kitchens than any other time of year," states a news release from the National Fire Protection Association.
Between 1993 and 1997, candles caused an annual average of 8,690 home fires, responsible for averages of 104 deaths, 948 injuries and $126 million in property damage each year, said the release.
Some tips offered by the association include keeping candles away from all holiday decorations, including Christmas trees, and extinguishing candles when they burn down to within an inch of decorative materials.
"Place burning candles where they can't be bumped or brushed against," said the release. "Arrange table candles safely away from flammable centerpieces and hanging decorations."
Candle Safety 101, released by the association, said to use candle holders that are sturdy, won't tip over easily, are made from a material that can't burn and are large enough to collect dripping wax.
Keeping candles away from clutter, loose clothing and hair also were suggestions.
"Extinguish candles carefully, using a long-handled candle snuffer or a soft, directed breath," states Candle Safety 101. "Do not leave the room until wicks have stopped glowing."
Young children unattended in a room with a candle and children or teens burning candles in their bedrooms also can be recipes for disaster, the information said. "To lower the risk of fire, candles should be used by only a few designated adults."
"Never use a candle where medical oxygen is being used," the materials said. "The two can combine to create a large, unexpected fire."
Candles in windows and passing handheld candles from one person to another are bad ideas, the information said.
Emergency lighting also is better if provided by flashlights and battery-powered lamps when possible instead of by candles, the information said.
"Don't use a candle for light when adding kerosene or any flammable fuel to a heater, lantern, or other devise," the information said. "The flame could ignite the fumes."
* Gifts and instructions for putting them together.
"I always end up drilling my own holes and having extra pieces when I'm done," said Kathy Hougaard-Lively of Hooper.
"I build stuff sometimes one or three times because I put it together wrong," said Farrell Lafferty of Ogden.
Scott Beatty is a remodeling and home improvement worker at Peak Home Improvement in Ogden. He said instructions often are frustrating even to him.
"I have four kids," he said. "I build a lot of stuff. ... It's worse when your wife knows you can do it."
Beatty acknowledged that often an engineering degree would come in handy when putting toys and presents together.
"A lot of times, there's nothing but pictures," he said. "I don't know why they think pictures are easier than words."
And in the end, he said, he has realized that he could have built a lot of things from scratch easier than putting them together from the instructions and the materials provided.
"Sometimes there is a hole missing or they forgot to give you a part," he said, admitting his head was starting to ache just talking about the upcoming holiday.
"Nothing is worse than Christmas Day and a kid is yelling at you to put it together," he said.
* Parties and pot luck.
Tonya Bennett-Whaley of Mountain Green said she just can't stomach pot luck dinners.
"I won't eat other people's food at pot lucks or from people in general," she said. "I don't know if they let their cats on the counters or they let their birds fly around."
But she said there was nothing imagined in the disgust she felt at one particular time.
"Once there was this girl that brought some grapes and someone commented about how good they were," she said. "This girl seriously said she got them from a garbage bin. That did it for me."
* Almost any activity -- shopping, movie going, restaurant eating -- and screaming children.
Everyone understands this one. There is no need to elaborate.
Contact reporter JaNae Francis at 801-625-4228 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @jfrancis.