Home improvements advent
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Follow these 24 simple steps and Christmas cheer will be all yours come the 25th.
1. Take out or check your home insurance - comparison sites are a big help. Save money, protect your home. Peace of mind for a few pounds a month.
2. Improve security - whether it’s a new lock on the shed, rescuing your weather beaten gate or installing a burglar alarm, it’s one way to keep hold of what you’ve got and keep your largest asset safe.
3. Clear out your decorations. Not the fluffy robin your teenager made as a toddler - or the star you traditionally put on the tree every year - but you’ll be amazed how thinning bits of tatty tinsel, broken baubles and dead fairy lights make it back into the loft for another year. Don’t wait until after Christmas - you won’t have the same energy for ditching the duds.
4. Get a door number/knocker at the same time as picking up a festive wreath. Freshen up and welcome guests.
5. Purchase a poinsettia. The most joy you can find for four quid. They last longer than those Quality Streets ‘for the teacher’. How many more tubs do you intend to buy ‘for the teacher’? You’re only fooling yourself...
6. If it’s not the best time to invest in a heavenly Yankee candle, my name is Frosty the Snowman. Ordering direct from their website is easy and you can find them in shops locally, including Boots.
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7. Choose outdoor lights and decorate a tree/area of your garden. You can do this without going overboard.
8. Not exactly joyful but effective: get your carpets professionally cleaned before the onslaught of visitors. Then it’s all ready for seasonal port stains, over indulged dog sick and pine needles, see?
9. It might only be an air freshener but smells make a difference to mood. There are festive infusions with cinnamon, satsumas and pine cones. Christmas in a can!
10. Treat yourself to silly seasonal ice cube trays - turn boring water into fun drink coolers for all the family. Snowmen, Santa, stars ... (I know how to live).
11. Get an advent candle/countdown or ornament. If you don’t go in for the religious aspects, you can still think of it as a countdown to the day you stay in pyjamas, drink Baileys for breakfast and consume your body weight in cheese and chocolate.
12. Buy shiny bowls, brushes and beds for your pet. Maybe even toys. Everyone needs spoiling at Christmas and they’ll look better in your home.
13. If you have tat on your fridge, sort it then reward yourself with lovely magnets! Quirky, arty, witty or vintage, there are magnets to suit every taste. It feels so good to put the kids’ artwork or school nativity play letter on the fridge and it not get lost under old takeaway menus and fliers about the summer fair!
14. Unblock your drains. Pour down that stuff and avoid stinky blockages ruining Christmas.
15. It’s cold but there are amazing duck feather king size duvets for under £40 at Argos. Pillows too. So many snuggly times ahead, watching festive family films and enjoying cosy lie-ins. You’d be quackers not to!
16. Spruce up toothpaste, toothbrushes and storage. Chuck out and replace old brushes/heads; get your best Christmas smile on.
17. Before the mayhem, get organised with a family planner/wall calendar or otherwise visually useful way of keeping track of appointments, work meetings and special dates. Someone might get you one as a gift but why take that chance?
18. Cushions - Dunelm has loads of Christmassy ones and many larger supermarkets sell them.
19. Get lovely bed covers - cheer yourself up. The Wilko ones are such great value and they have so much choice.
20. Key cutting isn’t exactly reminiscent of all things merry but it’s timely. For going away and giving to a plant-sitting neighbour, accidentally getting locked out, arriving home from That Party late or letting the cleaner in while you’re still shopping/working, having enough spare sets is crucial to happiness and peace in your life. Honestly.
21. There comes a stage in every life when you reach Tupperware Excitement. Sad but true. I know it’s not all made by Tupperware. But storage containers hasn’t got the same 1970s/80s ring. You’ll have leftovers, tiny toys and nuts that are too good to throw away. Keep a stash of storage solutions and save cash.
22. Put little waste bins in bedrooms and bathrooms.
23. Window gel stickers aren’t everyone’s idea of ‘improving’ their home. But it’s only Christmas once a year.
24. Buy Lush bath bombs and relax in blissful gorgeousness. Your place will smell sweetly and you will feel happier rested, bringing smiles to all who pop round for a cheeky mulled wine and mince pie.