There’s so much to do at this time of year, it can be daunting and if you’re expecting guests for Christmas Day you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed.
Home improvements online platform Hipages reports that interest in certain services peak in the weeks before Christmas. While major work might be out of the question, inquiries to deal with everything from getting the pool into perfect working order to repainting the dining room or outdoor area are at a high.
Indeed, there’s still time to get most of those smaller jobs done, even if it feels like some of them are already beyond you. Hipages has made a list of the top jobs in the lead-up to Christmas. Whether they’re naughty or nice, it’s time to get cracking.
Spend time in the garden
Garden gone into overdrive? Matt Leacy from Landart says time spent on setting the garden straight now will serve you well in the new year when you want to put your feet up.
“Managing the way you maintain your garden before Christmas is important so that you can have a decent break,” he says. “If you go in too early before Christmas, you’ll have to do it all again during the Christmas break or just after.”
Ideally, mow the lawn in the week before Christmas and, if you have time, give any shrubs or hedges a quick trim.
“Shrubs such as plumbago and viburnum grow really quickly but give them a quick swing over with the trimmer. Most people hit their shrubs hard at the start of spring and then they have to do it all again later.”
At this point, Matt says you should focus on areas that will be most visible to guests. If you don’t have time to weed the garden, he has a simple solution.“Mulch will make everything more presentable,” he says.
“Use it at the entrance of your property. If you’ve run out of time to weed, cover it all with mulch.”
Get the pool ready
Director of landscape design and maintenance service Landart, Matt Leacy, says getting the lawn and pool into shape is all in the timing.
“At Christmas, the pool becomes the main play area for the kids and there are heaps of family around,” he says.
“You want to check that the pH levels in the water are balanced — everything relies on the pH being neutral.”
Although normally he says you would put your filter on a timer to run a couple of times a day, when you’re having a lot of people over, put it on when you expect most people to be in the water.
“Ideally, the filter should run twice a day but it’s good to run it when it’s actually being used and it’s dealing with sunscreens and everything else that’s in the water.”
If you haven’t oiled your deck by now, Matt says it’s probably better to wait until after Christmas so that it stays looking good for longer. But there’s still plenty more to do.
Make sure your aircon is up to speed
Hipages reports that cleaning the airconditioner is one of the top jobs requested in the last couple of weeks before the holiday season kicks off. Not only will it ensure that you and your family will be breathing cleaner air, it reduces the wear and tear on your airconditioner filter, so that it will not need to be replaced sooner rather than later.
A cleaner filter also means the airconditioner will not be working so hard to cool your home, which means less demand on the electricity and less impact on your energy bill.
To get maximum efficiency from your airconditioner, set the temperature to between 24°C and 26°C. Be aware of outdoor temperatures and turn the airconditioner off and open the house when it becomes cooler outside.
Clear the gutters — and stay safe
Whether you’re home or away for the holidays, most of us are keen to take a few precautions to keep our homes safe.
While it’s no one’s favourite task, cleaning the gutters at this time of year is good practice, especially if you are planning on going away after Christmas. Clear gutters will lessen the impact of extreme weather events such as storms, floods and even bushfire.
If there are access issues or you don’t have the right equipment, this might be just the job to outsource to a professional with appropriate insurance.
While you’re at it, check the security of your doors and windows and consider installing exterior sensor lights. Timers for lamps, lights and radios are a relatively cheap investment to give the appearance that someone is home while you’re away.
Clean and clear away
Interior design Monique Sartor from Sartorial Interiors says now is the perfect time to refresh your home. “Decluttering sets the tone for a relaxed break and it makes way for all the mess that comes with Christmas — and Christmas presents,” she says.
Finish off interior spaces with something natural, like a trailing indoor plant, or decorate the table with banana leaves or sprays of eucalyptus.
“Greenery wins every time,” Monique says. “It adds life to a space. If you don’t have room on the table, hang some lightweight twigs or branches from the light fitting.”