Christmas Day guide: Get your home ready for the festivities
Christmas is the perfect time to be at home but that means along with the shopping, the wrapping and the panicking over the fact you have no idea how to cook a turkey (just us?) you need to make sure your house is fit to host the festivities.
We’ve put together a useful guide for getting your home Christmas Day ready. Think of it as an early gift from us.
Words by Christine Toner
The Big Clean
It’s as important a part of the Christmas preparations as decorating the house and wrapping the presents – the big clean, and we’re talking about more than a quick hoover and a dust.
“The main event of the big day is undoubtedly Christmas dinner,” says Hayley Vaughan, co-owner of Liverpool-based cleaning firm Envy Cleaning Services. “At the heart of everything is the oven. A dirty oven not only looks unsightly but will also have an adverse impact on the taste of your roast. Ensure your oven is gleaming by taking the time to clean thoroughly using readily available products such as Oven Brite. If your oven requires a deeper clean or you do not have the time to carry out a clean, why not treat yourself to a professional oven/hob/hood clean.”
And while you’re in the kitchen, you should turn your attention to the fridge too.
“One of the best things about preparing for Christmas is the big food shop,” says Hayley’s sister and Envy co-owner Nicola. “Why not take this as an opportunity to give your fridge a full clean. Start by clearing out any out of date items. Once all food items have been removed, take out the shelves and soak them in warm, soapy water. Whilst in soak, clean the inside of the fridge using a solution of water and either vinegar or baking soda to ensure a sparkling finish.”
The secret, says Hayley, is planning ahead.
“Avoid the stress of last minute cleaning by tackling one room at a time. Make a plan and concentrate firstly on those areas where your guests will spend the most time, such as the lounge, dining room and bathrooms.
“If you are having guests to stay over, be sure to change the bedding in good time prior to the big day. Nobody wants to be changing a bed at 11pm on Christmas Eve. Why not add an extra special touch to your guest room with some festive bedding and some diffuser sticks with a festive scent.
“Make sure to give the room a thorough vacuuming and dusting as spare/guest bedrooms can gather dust if not being used very often.”
Clear Out and Help Out
If you’re decluttering ahead of the big day why not help out those in need in the process. There are plenty of places in Liverpool where you can take your pre-loved goods.
The Whitechapel Centre, for example, is currently looking for good quality clothes, shoes, toys and towels (for a full list of what’s needed visit www.whitechapelcentre.co.uk) while charity shops are always keen to receive pre-loved toys and books.
Keep it Green
From fairy lights to central heating, Christmas can be tough on the old energy bills. But the Energy Saving Trust (EST) has some top tips for cutting your costs and saving energy this Christmas.
Try switching your Christmas lights to LEDs this year. According to the EST, LED Christmas lights use 90% less energy than incandescent. That means if everyone in the UK swapped just one string of lights for LEDs we would save £13 million during the 12 days of Christmas alone.
To keep in the heat make sure there are no draughts in your windows and doors. The EST also suggests moving furniture away from radiators while investing in radiator reflector panels will help to reflect the heat back into your room.
And before you buy in a load of tech gifts for your loved ones, bear in mind that tablets use 70% less power than laptops, according to the EST, which says the number of devices in people’s homes has grown rapidly and leaving these devices on standby has an impact on our energy bills.
LED Christmas lights use 90% less energy than incandescent.
Tablets use 70% less power than laptops.
All is Calm
It’s not just the house that needs to be prepared ahead of Christmas. Most of us could do with a little mental maintenance too! The pressure to get things right, the in-laws overstaying their welcome and the little ones getting overtired often means that by 26 December we’re all a little burnt out. But it needn’t be that way.
“Take control of what you can control,” says trainer and mindfulness coach Terry McCoy of The NLP Works. “You may not be able to control external events but you can control your response to them. You may not be able to control the fact that your mum gets even more ‘judgey’ about your parental skills/cooking/lifestyle when she gets ‘baubled’ but you can control how you respond.”
Terry says it’s also important to learn to say ‘no’ without feeling bad about it.
“I’m assuming that if I surveyed 100 people and asked them what kind of person you are most would say you’re a ‘thoroughly good egg’! If that’s the case then the people who really matter will respect your decision not to have Christmas their way. Decide what and who is important to you and act accordingly – set your boundaries.”
And when you inevitably get stressed out by a family argument, a tantrum throwing toddler or a demanding mother in law?
“Remove yourself,” says Terry. “Change the situation and just breathe. So underrated yet so useful as emotional first aid.
“When you find yourself about to react in a way that you may well regret for the rest of the year take three breaths or carry on until you feel calmer before you respond. In through the nose and out through the mouth and breath out for two seconds longer than you breath in. If it’s good enough for the Navy Seals as a way to stay calm under pressure then it’s good enough for you.”