We might have only just finished with Halloween and Bonfire Night, but with everyone already talking about this year's John Lewis advert we can be sure of one thing: Christmas is on the way!
Up and down the country, high streets are being decorated, kids are writing lists and all of us are getting into the festive spirit, even if it comes with a sense of dread once we realise just how much work we have ahead of us.
Yes, now is the time of year to ask yourself the crucial question: is your home ready for Santa Claus? Will he have a safe spot to land his sleigh? Is his route inside clear and secure? Has your home been tidied up enough to leave a good impression on the old saint? The imminent arrival of Father Christmas can be an excellent excuse to finally get down to organising long-needed home repair, maintenance and improvement jobs, ensuring that when the big day arrives everyone can enjoy a stress-free celebration.
With that in mind, here are the best ways you can get your home ready for Santa this Christmas!
How does Santa make his way into a house to leave presents for the good boys and girls inside? Why, through the chimney!
Of course, this story first became popular at a time when chimneys were a much more common household feature. For properties that do still have chimneys, however, proper maintenance is essential, especially at this time of year.
Even if you do not get regular use out of your fireplace, it is advised that you book a chimney sweep service at least once every 12 months. This prevents the buildup of ash and other blockages, such as animals and nests, and can also protect your property from potentially fatal carbon monoxide poisoning.
Perhaps most important of all, it will ensure that come December your beautiful roasting fire will not be spoiled by the smell of whatever is blocking up the flue!
It goes without saying that if Santa is going to deliver your gifts on time, he’ll need a safe place to land his sleigh. Broken tiles or holes in your roof could cause serious hazards for the kindly Cringle, especially if this winter proves to be particularly cold and wet.
More importantly, a damaged roof can lead to a number of serious issues for the rest of your property. Moisture entering in through the roof can get into electrical systems, causing short circuiting and even electrical fires. If moisture gets into your structural timbers it can cause them to rot and become compromised over time, threatening the stability of your home. Once moisture drips into insulation, it will cause it to clump together and become useless, lowering the energy efficiency of a property and making it more expensive to heat.
Crucially, a leaking roof can also cause the growth and spread of mould throughout a property. This could seem like a mild annoyance at first, but if mould is allowed to spread it can become as dangerous as asbestos - not something you want in your home if you have family staying over!
If you notice something wrong with your roof or gutters, your best course will be to hire a local roofer as soon as possible. The longer you leave the repairs, the more expensive they will be.
If you want to let the world know that you’re in the Christmas spirit, while also making it much easier for Santa to find your house, there is no better way than by hanging outdoor Christmas lights.
Every year there are plenty of homes that go overboard with their Christmas lights, and honestly we love them for it. Still, hanging lights up on a roof or the side of a house can be a dangerous job to do alone, especially in windy and frosty weather.
As a result, hanging Christmas lights is a popular seasonal job for roofers and handymen. Candidates with experience working safely at heights will be able to hang your lights quickly and efficiently. They will also have all of the necessary equipment for doing the job; you won’t spot a professional trying to hang lights while standing on a wheelie bin!
Whether you decide to hang your Christmas lights on your own or hire a professional, give yourself time to think about how and where you would like them placed. Measure the length of your wiring, make sure that the lights work by testing them indoors first and do not hang any lights outside that are not 100% waterproof.
When you know that someone important is coming over, you want to make sure that your property makes as good an impression as possible. As such, now can be the perfect time of year to have a professional local cleaner give your house a once-over.
At Christmas time, there are two important areas to keep in mind during cleaning. The first is the kitchen. Naturally, this room will get a lot of use over the Christmas holidays. If you do not do tasks like oven cleaning as often as you should, December will offer the ideal chance to make up for lost time. You should also take the chance to reorganise your cupboards to make room for the ingredients you will be using for your Christmas dinner. Who knows, you may even find a forgotten item that would make a perfect addition!
The second area to focus on is your flooring, particularly in your living room. If your family at Christmas is anything like mine, everyone will be sitting on the floor to open their presents. As such, it can be a good idea to book a professional carpet or floor cleaning service to make sure that your floor is as hygienic as possible. If you have hardwood flooring, you may even want to consider buying a few shaggy rugs to help everyone get comfortable.
Anyone who has had to work outside during the winter will tell you how nice it is to come home to find it nice and toasty. Santa will be going through a lot of trouble just to make sure we have a nice Christmas, so surely we ought to pay him back by making his job as comfortable as possible, right?
Home boiler and heating maintenance is almost as much of a tradition at this time of year as Christmas itself; as the weather gets colder, more and more people will experience issues with their heating systems, from broken radiators to packed-in boilers.
While having these flaws repaired can be expensive, simply maintaining your heating system does not have to be. A yearly boiler servicing can prevent catastrophic breakages and ensure that the system runs as efficiently as possible. Depending on how energy efficient your home is, you may also want to consider improvements like loft insulation and double glazing in time for the holidays to make it cheaper to heat your property.
What do Santa Claus and relatives have in common? When they come over for Christmas, you want your home to make a great impression!
Decorating a property for Christmas can be one of the most enjoyable things to do with your family or the most stressful, depending on how lucky you are. If you want to save yourself a festive headache, it may be a good idea to have a local handyman hang up your more awkward decorations, such as your outdoor Christmas lights.
Another thing worth considering if you are having family over this year is redecorating the rooms where they will be staying. Christmas is an excellent excuse to redecorate rooms that need some TLC; depending on how many relatives are coming over, you may even want to consider assembling some simple flat pack furniture.
Thanks to his magic key, Santa can make his way into any home without trouble. As such, you can upgrade your property’s security as much as you like without having to worry about locking him out!
In all seriousness, Christmas is the favourite time of year for opportunistic thieves. It will go without saying that most properties will be packed with goodies and the best burglars know exactly what weaknesses to look out for.
So, if you feel that your home’s security is lacking, now is the best time of year to remedy that fact. This does not mean that you need to invest thousands in making your home impenetrable; a locksmith can provide your windows and doors with sturdy locks, or you may want to have an electrician install a motion-activated outside light. It can also be effective to party as late as possible on Christmas Eve, since music and laughter will let potential thieves know that people are home!