Keys to seasonal spirit:

  1. De-clutter before the holiday season by giving unwanted clothes, books or other items to charity.
  2. Make sure that any deep cleaning required is completed well before the guests arrive.
  3. Stock up on wipes and cleaning products to deal quickly with any guest spills.

You’ll be really busy when friends and family start arriving, so it’s vital to be prepared. Get most of the cleaning done in the lead-up to the festivities. Look at:

  • Carpets and rugs: Treat stains and mend where necessary. Remove all pet hair and consider professional cleaning so guests with allergies will be comfortable.
  • Oven: Get rid of greasy build-up so you can focus on roasting turkeys and heating up tasty snacks. Check out our in-depth guide here.
  • The fridge: Clean it out, remembering to wash the shelves. Get rid of old food and recycle packaging. See our ‘top-tips’ here.
  • Fireplace: Whether hanging stockings or displaying cards on the mantelpiece a tidy fireplace raises a festive cheer. Clean all surfaces, and if burning wood, clear out the grate and fill with new logs.   
  • Silver: If your traditions include special cutlery or candlesticks, get them polished and ready to use.
  • The tree: Make room for it and clean around and under any furniture that is moved.

In addition to your usual Christmas cleaning routine, also check:

  • Festive crockery and glassware are polished and ready to use.
  • You have enough chairs.
  • Tablecloths and napkins are fresh and stain free.
  • Decorations are clean and ready for use, and all bulbs in festive lighting are working.
  • Guest rooms are tidy and aired out. Clean thoroughly, paying attention to floors, ceilings, windows, curtains and furniture to eliminate dust or mould.

Planning for visitors

At the beginning of December, ask anyone who is coming to stay to tell you what they need, or could use, that will make their time in your home more comfortable. Inquire about:

  • Allergies: In food, household products and the home.
  • Dietary requirements: Does anyone need gluten-free, vegetarian, or vegan meals?
  • Drinks: Don’t forget non-alcoholic options for non-drinkers or drivers.
  • Elderly relatives: Make sure there are bedside tables with alarm clocks and lights, with space for medication and drinks, and somewhere to store canes, walkers or luggage.
  • Disabled access: Consider how you can place anyone with a disability at the centre of activity and give them the support they need to enjoy their stay.

Be prepared with:

  • Spare bedding: Check supplies of extra pillows, hypo-allergenic duvets or sheets washed with non-bio detergent.
  • Toiletries: Stock the bathroom with plenty of soap, shampoo and toothpaste.
  • Children: Very young guests may need toys, high chairs, extra wipes or plastic sheeting to minimise mess. Offer a selection of simple games for everyone to enjoy together.
  • Power outages: No need to be left in the dark if you’ve stocked up on candles, matches, batteries and torches.
  • Glittering guest rooms: Freshly laundered linens, fluffy towels and spare blankets will ensure guests are comfortable. Make them feel especially welcome with cut flowers, scented candles or a bathrobe. A small basket of items such as bath salts, eye masks or slippers is a hospitable touch, and make space in wardrobes and drawers for their things.
  • Bathrooms: Clean thoroughly just before guests arrive and put out clean hand-towels and bath mats.
  • Sofa beds and inflatable mattresses: Ensure they are in good working order.
  • Drinks: Make coffee and tea-making items accessible so guests can cater for themselves if they’re up early or late.

Stock up on dishwashing, dishwasher and laundry detergent, paper towels, anti-bacterial wipes, bin liners, toilet paper and tissues, so if you need to do some Christmas cleaning, you can do it efficiently. Buy store-cupboard essentials such as pasta, tinned tomatoes, olive oil and tuna so if no one feels like going out there are ingredients for extra meals. Maintain a generous supply of sweet and savoury snacks - such as biscuits or nuts - so there is always something to eat, no matter when guests get hungry.