We’ve all seen the John Lewis #manonthemoon Christmas advert and the Coca-Cola truck has made its annual appearance meaning one thing – Christmas is just around the corner.
Stress levels are likely to be rising as you run around the shops looking for the must-have toy for your children or the chestnuts for your stuffing, and this is all before you get your home ready for visitors.
To help with the latter, below we’ve shared 14 top tips to help you avoid a Christmas nightmare, from making sure your kitchen is ready for the increased cooking, through to quick yet effective cleaning tips – and of course, you cannot forget tips for keeping Grinch at bay.
Avoid a Christmas Nightmare in the Kitchen:
Over the Christmas period, particularly when it comes to preparing the Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, stress levels can increase significantly. Understandably you want to get Delia’s stuffing made to perfection, the turkey moist and the roast potatoes crispy on the outside and fluffy inside – so make sure you’ve got the best chance of doing this by keeping your kitchen appliances in full working order.
In our post “Are Your Kitchen Appliances Ready for Christmas” we explain how you can keep your kitchen appliances in top condition, whilst in the video below; Josh also explains how to avoid a Christmas kitchen nightmare.
Cleaning Tips for Christmas:
Whether it’s your own parents or in-laws coming round, great aunts or just friends, you want to greet them in a clean, fresh house – whatever the time of year. Unfortunately, during the run-up to the festive period, cleaning can often fall by the wayside as we’re all busy getting those last-minute gifts.
But with the quick, simple and effective tips below there’s no reason why your house cannot be spotless throughout Christmas.
- Box it up – a few days before your visitors are due, go around each room at a time and box everything up which doesn’t need to be out. From toys to paperwork including bills that need to be paid in the New Year, it can all go in the box. Once you’ve gone around each room, place the box somewhere out of sight of everyone else (but somewhere you’ll remember) and leave it there until your guests have gone. [source: http://www.homeanddry.biz/blog/]
- Don’t rush – there’s still plenty of time until the big day, so don’t leave the cleaning until the last minute, especially as there’s likely to be a list of 101 other things which you still need to do. Instead, do some cleaning little and often. Not only does this help you keep on top of it, but it also means you’re able to provide each room with a thorough clean.
- Fresh sheets + fresh towels = happy guests – whether you’ve got guests planning to stop or not, change the sheets on all beds and lay out fresh towels. You never know someone may overindulge on the alcohol and need to stay, by having clean sheets and fresh towels after a good night’s sleep they’ll wake up happy and refreshed.
- Cleaning the bathroom is a chore no one likes, but when you’ve got guests coming round it should be towards the top of your list. From the toilet, sink, and bath through to the grouting and shower screen, make sure you tackle all areas – and for an easier clean of the bathroom, we recommend you use a steam cleaner as this will cut through dirt and grime with ease.
- Remove muddy paw/footprints from your floors – with the wet weather comes the increased risk of muddy paw/footprints on your floors. Wipe these up, again using a steam cleaner, and during the festive period if possible wipe any muddy footprints up immediately using an anti-bacterial floor wipe – this will help reduce the amount of cleaning you need to do once your guests leave.
- Smear free glassware and crockery – you cannot have your in-laws drinking out of a dirty glass, even after your glasses have been through the dishwasher they can look dirty. Remove mineral stains from them by giving them a quick scrub with potato skins.As for your cutlery, give this an extra shine and impress your guests by running the inside of a banana skin along with the silver. [source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/14/holiday-cleaning-checklist_n_2302958.html] These are just 2 examples of how food can help you clean your home (both during the festive period and throughout the year) for more tips, give “How to Clean Your Home…Using Food” a quick read.
Don’t Give Grinch an Easy Ride:
Research has shown during December there’s a 25% increase in theft claims, with an average of nearly 50 claims being made a day during the Christmas period. It’s a worrying thought, particularly as our homes are full of gifts for the family – but there are steps you can take to make sure you don’t give Grinch an easy ride.
- Don’t leave gifts on show, even if they’re wrapped and under the tree. This is just putting temptation in a would-be-burglars path. Where possible, keep all gifts out of sight of prying eyes. [source: http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/mortgageshome/article-2249940/Dont-fall-victim-Christmas-burglary.html]
- Sounds obvious, but make sure all windows and doors are locked. Burglars are more often to try their luck through an open window (left open due to an extension cord running through it for the outside lights) or door – keep yours locked and your home secure.
- Secure your home by making sure your burglar alarm is working and switched on whenever you go out. We would also recommend fitting a few dummy cameras as these act as a great deterrent. Another way to deter any potential burglars is to install outside lighting which comes on as someone passes.
- If you’re going away over Christmas, use light timers around the home so your lights come on at various times, making it look as though someone is in. It’s also a good idea if you’re going away for an extended period of time over Christmas to ask a neighbour to park one of their cars on your drive – again, this helps to give the illusion that someone is in.
- Expecting a delivery but popping to the shops? You may only be an hour or so, but don’t leave a note for the courier telling them you’re out – such notes also act as an open invitation for would-be-burglars and they only need 5 minutes to break in and ruin your Christmas.
- It’s a common mistake which we will all have done at some point, drawing the curtains as we go away. Unfortunately, the curtains then remain closed until we return – providing an obvious sign that the house is empty. Don’t fall into this trap.
- A fan of Twitter or Facebook? Many of us are but don’t use either of these (or any social media platform) to promote that you’re away over Christmas or that you’re out for the day. You never know who is reading this and you don’t want to promote to the Grinch you’re not in.
Each of these 14 tips will go some way to help you avoid a Christmas nightmare, helping you to enjoy the festivities with your loved ones. If you have any other top tips which you swear by for a stress-free Christmas, share them in the comment section below and help your fellow eSpares readers.