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The Big Christmas Countdown: how to prep your home for the festive season

Four steps to make your home ship-shape for the holiday season. We show you how to take away the stresses and strains of Christmas in the run up to the Big Day...

Christmas decorations

1. Clean up your act

Job number one should be cleaning and decluttering the house before Santa & Co arrive for the Big Day. Earmark a weekend when the family is free and get everyone involved by dividing up tasks. Tidy bedrooms, polish light fixtures, scrub skirting boards and clean windows. It’s a good idea to make space in kitchen cupboards, freezers and fridges for the extra food and drink you’ll be buying over the next few weeks. Don’t stop before every item on your list is ticked off. The result: a shiny, happy home ready to be trimmed with all your festive decorations and pretty lights.  

TOP TIP: Celebrate all your hard work by rewarding the whole family with a festive meal out on the town. It’s a fabulous incentive to get them stuck in… 

Photo credit: Make your home sparkle and shine with a pre-Christmas clean-up. White metal star, from £17.50 for small, Cox & Cox, 
Christmas decorations

2. Get guest ready

If you have friends or family staying for the festivities, now is the time to think about space and sleeping arrangements. You don’t want last minute panic stations! Spare bedrooms should be aired and cleaned thoroughly, and beds laid with fresh sheets and duvet covers. Leave out a pile of clean towels and luxe up the five-star experience with gorgeous toiletries, room sprays and a mini Christmas tree. Clear a section of a wardrobe for hanging up clothes and make space in drawers for putting away other bits and pieces. The only problem is your guests may never want to leave… 

TOP TIP: Panic not if you don’t have a spare room. Instead, rethink existing sleeping arrangements: can children bunk in together or sleep on your floor? Do an inventory of bedding and blow-up mattresses before guests arrive too. 

Photo credit: Create a festive stay for overnight guests. Green Christmas Sprig reversible brushed cotton duvet set, £40 for double, Next, 
Christmas decorations

Dazzle with decorations

With all the hard work and prep out of the way, it’s time to trim the tree and festoon the house with garlands, fairy lights and foliage. Cast a magical glow over every room with strings of white lights, lanterns and candles – guaranteed to get everyone in the festive mood. Pick up cheap and cheerful baubles and tissue pom poms and get the whole family involved by making homemade paperchains and spraying pine cones silver. If you love a real tree, why not try out potted Christmas firs that can be taken outside when the festivities are done – a great way to cut back on waste. Otherwise, pre-lit trunks can be used year after year. Don’t forget to decorate the door and hallway with holly, lights and scented candles for a super festive welcome for guests.  

TOP TIP: Check all your lights are in good working order before you hang. Finally, there’s nothing like infusing your home with the smell of Christmas. Light candles scented with notes of chestnut, orange, pine, berry and fir – and the let the festivities commence!  

Photo credit: Decorate your home from top to toe with lights, baubles and Christmas garlands. All from  
Christmas decorations