For many, the countdown to Christmas means ticking off the present-buying list, organising decorations, food and maintaining a busy social calendar, juggling friends, family and parties. But for others, minds are on more urgent matters – moving house!
Moving house around the Christmas period might not be considered the best time to up sticks and switch properties – though getting into a new house in time for the holiday is a big attraction - but sometimes such events are unavoidable. The property market can be unpredictable and if that’s the way everything in the selling and buying process aligns, so be it. Time to put Christmas on hold for a year and get on with it – and here are a few tips which might just help to make the move go a little smoother.
Don’t forget to be practical
Yes, Christmas is looming but business doesn’t stop and the world carries on so make sure you have notified everyone you need to regarding your pending move. That includes practical matters such as notifying utility companies – imagine moving into your new home on December 23rd and discovering the electricity and gas supply has been disconnected.
This guide to moving house from the Money Advice Service is a really useful resource.
Store presents at a relative’s house
A couple of different situations here – if you’re in a relationship and don’t have children, it might be wise to postpone all the present buying until you’ve moved in and settled in; then you can go on a January sales splurge! But if you have children it’s not so easy. They won’t understand any notion of Christmas being put off, and neither should they. You could get every present wrapped up in advance of the move but then all those presents will need moving with everything else and could get damaged. The better option is to store them, wrapped and ready to go, at a relative’s house and then transfer them on Christmas Eve.
Unpack the essentials only
If you’re moving into your new home a matter of days before Christmas Day, don’t even attempt to unload every single item in such a short space of time. Unpack the essentials – the clothes you and your family will need to keep you going for a few days; everything you need for the bedrooms in the home; the TV – if you have kids they can enjoy a Christmas movie or two while you get the house straight – and the vital components in the kitchen so you can at least cook some basic meals. Oh, and get a tree up!
Order the essentials
Get your timings spot on if your new house needs essential items. As soon as you have the moving date 100% confirmed, get the ball rolling and book your broadband connection and, if you’re having any new furniture ordered, you can confirm delivery date. If the previous owners are taking their fridge and freezer with them – highly likely, unless these are integrated in the kitchen – ensure replacements are with you the very next day after moving in. Companies like AO even offer same day delivery in some cases, which is helpful for items you cannot live without.
Don’t host on Christmas Day
Yes, you might host Christmas dinner ‘every year’ and absolutely love that part of the holiday but give yourself a break if you’re moving house. The stress might be too much. Instead, accept any family invitations that might come your way or book a table at a nearby pub or restaurant and allow yourself to be waited on hand and foot. Of course, you might miss having a house full of people at this time of year but you can still entertain – why not recreate a Christmas dinner later in the holiday, when things are a little more organised? You’ll have a bit more time to peruse your seasonal cookbookto make sure the food is perfect.
Keep the traditions going
Finally, don’t fall into the trap of focusing on nothing but the house move. You shouldn’t spend every single day, all day, packing up your belongings and it’s important that you spend some of the build-up to Christmas being ‘Christmasy.’ Go to the carol concert, visit Father Christmas with the kids, go shopping and see the lights.