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How to Prepare Your Holiday Home for Christmas Guests

Christmas spent in a home-away-from-home can be the most magical festive experience. However, it can be difficult for homeowners to decide how to decorate their homes in advance of guests. Should you go all out with tinsel and baubles, or opt for something a little more subtle? UnderTheDoormat are here with our top tips to help you prepare your homestay for the Christmas vacation.

To tree or not to tree?

Christmas trees have been part of the UK’s festive traditions since the 1800s, when Queen Charlotte brought the custom with her from her native Germany. But choosing a tree for your holiday cottage can be somewhat controversial! If you aren’t going to be there over the holidays, it might seem like too much hassle. And what about the potential for mess? You don’t want to risk your homestay guests finding a hall or lounge festooned with pine needles, after all!

That said, a home without a Christmas tree can feel a little bare – there's no better welcome for your guests than to find a lovely tree waiting for them. Our advice is to weigh up the options. How long will you be letting your home out for? If you’re going to be away for the whole of the Christmas vacation, it is worth considering an artificial tree or a variety that doesn’t drop, like a Nordmann Fir or a Lodgepole Pine. Alternatively, if you're going to return to the home at regular intervals and can keep on top of the tree maintenance (and hoovering!), feel free to go for a gorgeous-smelling Norway Spruce.


What is Christmas without tinsel, baubles and lights? With a few well-placed decorations, you can set the mood immediately for visitors to your home. You want to choose a style that is not overwhelming, however: a scheme that strikes the balance between festive and unobtrusive. It’s important that your guests feel they can make your home their own and add their own decorations if they wish.

With that in mind, we recommend that you choose an understated colour scheme, like silver and white, and choose simple decorations that complement each other. A wreath on the front door will immediately set the scene; and subtle, nature decorations, like pine cones in a glass and sprigs of fresh holly and pine on windowsills, mantles and bannisters can be really effective.

Get cosy

The Yuletide period is a time in which everyone loves to feel snuggly; this means that, as a homeowner, you should consider your heating arrangements! Check all radiator settings before you leave and ensure that your winter duvets are appropriately thick and cosy for the season. Consider extra blankets for the beds and throws for the living areas. Hot water bottles can be a nice touch, too! If you have an open fire or a woodburner, make sure there are plenty of logs available for your guests to make use of.

Essential repairs and maintenance

Christmas is a notoriously busy period for tradesmen. This can be unfortunate, as the season brings with it adverse weather conditions, and extreme cold can play havoc with household facilities. As such, we strongly recommend that you get your boiler serviced well in advance of Christmas – a broken-down boiler could be a real headache for anyone staying at your home. Leaving emergency numbers (just in case) might be a good idea. Alternatively, you could choose a fully-managed option like UnderTheDoormat - we will take care of any maintenance for your guests while you're away! Whatever you decide, it's advised that you take care of any essential maintenance during the pre-Christmas period, rather than waiting until January.

If you have any outside areas, it’s a good idea to tend to these before guests come to stay. Clear any autumn leaves, dead plants and seasonal debris. Plant some hardy flowers – like winter pansies or heather – to give a pop of colour to pots or flowerbeds.

Seasonal recommendations

Though UnderTheDoormat provide a welcome pack on behalf of all our homeowners, there may be special events going on in your area over the festive period that your guests might like to know about. If there’s a Christmas Market or carol service that you think your guests would enjoy, leaving all the details out for them would be a lovely touch.

Whatever you decide to do to your home in preparation for the winter festivities, you can feel assured that, with UnderTheDoormat, it’ll be in safe hands. We will be open for much of the festive period in case you need to contact us. Have a great Christmas!