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Preparing your Holiday Home for Christmas

As Christmas creeps closer, getting your holiday home ready for your guests arrival is all the more important. This month, our guest writer is Andrew Exelby, Commercial Development Manager, who is going to share his top tips on getting your holiday property ready for the festive season.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and what better way to celebrate the festive season than to book a family Christmas away in the South West? Guests staying over the Christmas and New Year period will not only have paid a little more to stay at your property, but they will also have heightened expectations as they strive to have a perfect Christmas break with their loved ones. There are several things you or your caretaker can do to reduce the stress in the lead up to festive holidays.

First Impressions

After a long drive, your guests will be excited to arrive, so first impressions are key. Make sure gates and front doors are clean, well maintained and that pathways wherever possible are clear and not slippery.

Being the Winter season, it is highly likely your guests will likely be arriving in the dark, so ask your housekeeper to leave the outside light on. If your key safe isn’t by the front door, ensure there is adequate lighting to avoid unnecessary fumbling and frustration.

A Warm WelcomeHand turning up thermostat

As well as the outside light, your housekeeper should check the heating is on for guests’ arrival and that the controls are all working for their comfort. Guests escaping for Christmas are far more likely to spend more time indoors than those holidaying in August, so it is fair to assume that demand for toasty rooms will be high.

Boiler breakdowns are sadly unavoidable, but precautions are easy to take and regular servicing and maintenance is essential to keep your home’s heating and hot water ticking over. Similarly, having an appropriate boiler and heating cover in place is a fantastic way to ensure any issues will be dealt with quickly and without emergency callout fees.

If your boiler uses solid fuel, supply should be checked and topped right up ahead of guests’ arrival as suppliers may not be open throughout the period.

Chestnuts and Marshmallows OptionalReplacing fire alarm battery

Nothing makes a Winter night cosier than lighting the fire and watching the flames flicker, so having chimneys and flues swept regularly is your best way of avoiding chimney fires or other more serious issues (it also means Santa can pop down more easily).

Leaving enough fuel for guests to light a fire is not only a wonderful welcome, but also allows you to ensure the fuel used is the most suitable for your fire, stove or woodburner and again reduce risks of any problems. Your housekeeper should check both fire alarms and carbon monoxide alarms on every changeover, and please leave spare batteries if necessary.

A Festive Treat for AllPulling a Christmas cracker

Guests really appreciate a thoughtful treat provided for the start of their well earned holiday, so why not spread a little Christmas joy and get creative? The selection of seasonal goodies to consider is vast; mince pies with clotted cream is an easy solution, but whatever you do, try to think about everyone in the party. Candy canes or gingerbread men for children are a nice touch as are treats left for any pets staying.

Whatever you settle on, remember that presentation is key – a cake stand and cloche lends a decadent edge to the simplest of offerings – and don’t forget to leave a hand-written Christmas card for your guests!

The Season of Sparkle

Old hand holding plastic bag in to trash

As we all know, Christmas is often a time of over indulgence, meaning families will be looking forward to rustling up delicious lunches and suppers to enjoy together. Fridges will be packed full and the oven will be in almost constant use, so extra attention to ensure these are sparkling for guests’ use is a must. Oven liners can save an awful lot of scrubbing and are easily and cheaply replaced.

Similarly, cooking utensils, ovenware, crockery and glassware will be in high demand – so there should be plenty of everything and all in good order. It is a good idea to keep a stock of spares at the property for your housekeeper to draw on between bookings; especially for glasses and dinnerware.

The volume of refuse and recycling generated over Christmas will undoubtedly be higher, so make sure your refuse and recycling instructions are clear for guests. If you need help with finding a commercial waste supplier, we can help!

Icing on the Cakefire burning next to a decorated Christmas tree

Christmas is a time for families to make memories and the experience of enjoying their favourite holiday at your property will live with them for years to come – it will also mean they are highly likely to think about returning to your holiday home.

Spread a little cheer by decorating your holiday cottage or apartment with a tree and some co-ordinated decorations. A fresh wreath hung on the door and some twinkling lights (PAT tested of course) nestled in trees or shrubs create a near-fairytale experience for children coming away for Christmas. If a real Christmas tree is not an option, and for many it just won’t be, we suggest going for a good quality artificial tree that can be used year after year.