You may groan when you start to see adverts for Christmas lunch bookings and Christmas decorations appearing in September, but it is not a bad time to have your first ideas about your holiday home at Christmas and New Year if the property can be readily accessed at this time of year. How you can make it really lovely for your own family to use, or how you might make money over the holidays renting it out? Everything needs to function well for a cosy Christmas and it is at this time of the year that these ideas can be put in place.
First of all the nuts and bolts of a house in winter need to be considered. Central heating and hot water boilers need to be functioning, so get your engineer out now before the Autumn rush to check out the system, boiler pump etc. It could also a good time now to fill up your heating oil tank, again so that you avoid the rush when the cold weather kicks in in earnest. It might be a good idea to get an immersion fitted if you do not have one, in case of central heating failure in the winter. At least everyone will have warm water. And some good quality modern heaters for the bedrooms which could be there in case of heating failure or to supplement the heating if the weather turns really cold.
A standard part of a cosy Christmas is an open fire or log burner. Now is the time to get everything checked, log burners serviced, chimneys swept and flues checked, again before the Autumn rush. Additionally, order in logs and coal to be kept somewhere dry. If there is a power cut the real fire can be a Godsend Get in a few wind-up camping lamps – both of these are a good fall back too if there is a power cut and safer than candles. Some fun board games for evenings might be a good idea too, in a power cut or if the TV palls.
Now is also the time you could look for winter weight duvets and other bedding etc. Additionally, because winter can be wet and muddy as much as it is cold, providing all doors the outside of your property with strong foot scrapers and good water absorbent mats (many of which these days can be put in a washing machine if the drum is large enough). Shoe shelving to allow good boot and shoe drying places would also be a good investment and plenty of old towels for wet and muddy dogs and people can be stocked in.
If you are intending to have extended family, or you want to offer the option to families who may have a big family get together over the holiday, you could invest in some extra fold out beds and bedding. Do check with your insurer if you rent out your holiday home, if you are going to offer accommodation for more people than you normal do under your insurance cover.
You can prepare your home for winter visitors – your own family or clients by getting together a pack of things to do locally in the winter. Local Christmas events such as carol services, New Year celebrations festive shops etc. Lists of restaurants open on Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve would be welcome no doubt, and nice lunchtime pubs open throughout the festive season. Good walks that are still passable in average winter weather could also be a nice touch. If you decide to let the family dog come in the winter too, you can offer dog friendly pubs and dog walk information.
Don’t forget about Christmas and New Year marketing. Many letting agents offer special sections of their sites particularly for this time of year. Just type in Christmas holiday lets into your browser and see what comes up. You can look at these to get an idea of how people present their homes and the sorts of rates they charge, for your type of property and in your holiday home location. You might also want to advertise in walking magazines, or some other publication that aims at the type of market your winter holiday let might appeal to.