The year draws to a close, the schools close and the kids arrive home bursting with energy, homes light up with creative Christmas scenes, and families start planning for the festive get-togethers.
As much as this season prompts celebration and joy, it can also be stressful. Budgeting for these seasonal expenses while keeping the kids entertained, and prepping the house for the onslaught of guests, is an overwhelming task. Seeff Property Group advocates that preparation is key if you want a stress-free festive season, regardless of whether you plan to stay home or travel.
We’ve compiled the best holiday tips to help you stay organised and stress-free.
Yes, the holiday season should be a relaxing time. But before you put your feet up, remember that everyone else will also take a break. This means your housekeeper and gardener likely will not be available to you.
You can prepare by giving your home a thorough clean before officially signing off for the year. Your home should be sparkling clean and welcoming when guests and family gather, and if you clean it beforehand, you avoid the last-minute hassle of changing bedding, cleaning the pool, and moving furniture to dust. Everything will be ready for your guests. In addition, cleaning your home allows for a physiological reset. Who wouldn’t want to start the new year with a clean house?
This holiday tip will benefit you and South African families in need. Clear out your clutter before the festive season commences, and give back to those who don’t have much to celebrate this Christmas.
We encourage you to consider donating to Seeff’s Home2Home campaign, which is open to all our past and present clients. This campaign redistributes your unwanted and undamaged items to communities in need across South Africa. It’s the perfect way to get in the Christmas spirit and do good.
Empty shelves are a common sight this time of year. Maybe you’ve left purchases to the last minute, only to find that Woolworths is out of ice cream and there’s no gammon in the fridges.
Necessities like cleaning supplies, tinned goods and toiletries should ideally be bought in advance. It’s wise to write a holiday checklist and go shopping before the craze begins; you can also shop online for added convenience.
We also recommend you shop smart and keep an eye out for gifts and even Christmas decorations throughout the year so that you can snatch them up before the festive craze hits. This may mean that you miss out on certain Christmas specials over the holidays, but it can save you the stress that comes with shopping last minute.
After you’ve stocked up on essential food items, we suggest you cook most meals in advance whenever possible. Once you’ve prepared the meals, freeze them, and you have one less thing to stress about when the family arrives.
But to avoid a disaster at the dinner table, ensure that the items you freeze are actually freezer-friendly.
If you have a trip on your agenda for the holidays, service your vehicle and check those tyres before you hit the road. The Christmas season is notorious for road incidents, and it’s best to avoid any chances of trouble for you and your family. Have your car assessed in advance, increasing your chances of staying safe on the road.
In addition to this, check your car’s insurance cover and update your policy if necessary.
Don’t underestimate the importance of this holiday tip. Security is a non-negotiable part of the festive season, especially if you won’t be home. Check your home security system, including your alarm system, electric fence, cameras, and any other security-related features you may have. Exterior lighting plays a role in keeping your cameras accurate, so verify that your outdoor lights also work.
In addition, verify your household insurance policy and increase your coverage if necessary.
As any South African is painfully aware, load shedding is an expected occurrence. Thus, take heed of this holiday tip and add an inverter, generator, and solar lights to your holiday checklist if you don’t already have one. Loadshedding is unlikely to cease soon, and South Africa will likely face lengthy blackouts this holiday season. You’ll need to be prepared for load shedding when you consider cooking and entertaining.
A basic system can keep your internet running, whereas a more powerful system can maintain your WiFi, security system, TV, and a few lights.
Do you plan to spend the festive season abroad or travelling? Get your home ready as you pack for your travels. Switch off the geyser, turn off your gas stove and pool pump, and consider putting timers on your lights.
House sitters are a popular option for people with pets or those travelling overseas. But ensure that whoever is in charge has keys, a list of contact numbers, and a clear plan to follow in the event of an emergency.
It’s also recommended that you inform your neighbourhood watch, security company or neighbours that you’re going to be away for the holidays. However, do not be overly vocal about your absence; this can invite major security risks.
Visit Seeff’s blog for more lifestyle and home advice. If you want to enjoy a holiday away from home, you might be interested in the short-term rental boom in Cape Town.