Shocking figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show a significant increase in the number of deaths during the Christmas holidays compared to the rest of the year. There are an additional 2,481 deaths on average every year between 21 December and 19 January from 2000 to 2010.

According to the data, an average of 1,682 deaths occur on Christmas Eve (an increase of around 10 per cent from early December), while New Year’s Day has the highest death record with an average of 1,766 fatalities each year.

The NHS claims that the increase in the death toll cannot be blamed on winter viruses and the cold weather alone, and is also down to people’s ‘break with routine’ over the festive season.

As the number of avoidable deaths and accidents escalates, Thompsons Solicitors is urging people to take extra care as they enjoy the celebrations.

Judith Gledhill from Thompsons Solicitors, said “These are hard-hitting statistics that may come as a shock.

“People are aware of some of the more obvious threats of winter but at a time of year when we are looking forward to a break from our daily routines, there are risks too.

“At the risk of being a Scrooge people do have to be careful. Drink driving, alcohol and drug misuse rise sharply at Christmas, and accidents at home including falls, fire incidents and even choking.

“For most, the holiday period is a happy time – but it’s also a time when people do things they don’t do at other times of the year. Accidents do happen and it's worth taking five and thinking about potential dangers before taking unnecessary risks this Christmas.”