Maximising your space at Christmas
Christmas is a great time to catch up with the family. Only, this year you’re hosting and you have to figure out how to fit your parents, brother-in-law and your sister’s new boyfriend all in the house. Oh, and strangely your family is insisting that you invite Uncle Kevin, someone who isn’t even your Uncle, but has insisted that you call him that even though you’re now in your thirties with kids of your own. You then look at your house and realise it’s a two-up, two-down. You’re now wondering how to give your house elastic walls…
It’s November and time to arm yourself with the hoover and venture into the cobweb-ridden loft and garage to remove all of the unnecessary clutter. It’s a dreaded thought, I know. Suddenly visions of Frodo fighting off Shelob, the flesh-devouring spider dance in your head. You feel like Ron, from Harry Potter and think about abandoning the idea entirely. The ironing pile suddenly seems far more of an attractive proposition than it did about an hour ago, but do it! Bin-bag up all the old toys and wheel out the scooters and bikes that your children have long since outgrown and make that all important trip to the charity shop. Not only will it give you some space to pack up your son’s drum kit for a few days over the Christmas period, but you’ll also have the feel-good factor of having done something for charity. An additional bonus is that you’ll have some extra space in your garage, loft or under-stairs space once the festivities are over.
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Still struggling for space? The newest addition of the family is coming to stay. You need to put up a travel cot and his parents of course need to be in the room with him. The baby’s definitely got the cute factor, so you’ve offered them your room. Your parent’s are now in your children’s room. You need some extra chairs around the lounge, however that’s now increasingly looking like the room that you, your partner and kids are going to be in. How can you quickly transform it back to a lounge quickly and fuss-free in the mornings?
- Pull out sofa beds
- Air-beds / Sleeping bags
- Folding / Z bed
- Inflatable chairs
- Giant cushions
- Sit-on storage / toy boxes
- Fold-away chairs
- Camping / deck chairs
For your dining room / kitchen
- Fold away tables / chairs
In your lounge
- Skinny trees, mini trees and the down-right quirky upside-down ceiling trees!
Other important considerations
Child and Pet friendly decorations
Who ate the sweets off the Christingle?
In all seriousness, a large number of Christmas decorations pose a threat to children and pets. Chocolate for example, is potentially fatal to dogs and visitors may be unware of this, thinking they are being ‘just a little bit naughty’ by offering your pet a sneaky treat. Lametta, usually hung from indoor Christmas trees is often swallowed by children and pets. Cats in particular love to play with and bat the baubles off trees. Some actually try to climb or hide in the trees. Even though this can make for some comic Christmas photos, it’s important to check for broken glass from the baubles as if this is ingested, it could be potentially fatal to small children and pets. It can also cause some nasty cuts to feet, so make sure it is disposed of carefully.
Some other important safety checks include:
- Testing your fire alarm: During the holiday season, there is an increased number of people gathering together, which means an increased amount of people leaving hair irons on, an increased usage of multi-sockets and more unattended pots, pans and ovens when cooking. Don’t have your Christmas ruined by a house fire. Fire kills.
- Candles, log fires and overheated Christmas lights are other all-to-common culprits. Ensure that any lit fires are put out fully before going to bed and that they are kept away from children. Children’s costumes are unfortunately highly flammable. Place safety-grates in front of open fires.
- Clean your tumble-drier filter: If you are not already in the practise of doing this, start now. Also, do not leave the machine running overnight or unattended. Again, this could lead to the appliance bursting into flames.
- Make sure when you are carrying heavy and hot dishes that the kitchen is not overcrowded as spillages of hot oils can cause burns.
- Do not be tempted to replace a screwdriver with another sharp implement to put together or open toys. Hospitals are seeing an increased number of Swiss-army-knife, key, scissor or kitchen knife related cuts
- Make sure that you have some salt in ready to grit the driveway and some de-icer for your car. Elderly relatives and children are particularly prone to slipping and falling.
Keep an eye out for friends or relatives who have had ‘one too many’. Injuries are often caused when judgement is blurred. Falling down the stairs or missing a seat and falling to the floor are just a few of the ways that the festivities can end in a hospital trip.
For more information, check out these tips given on GOV.UK and the Fire Service.
Now that you’ve read through some of the safety issues, it is also important to have fun! Below are some ways that you can add those little touches to your house!
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- Under supervision, you can help children to create a Christingle or some home-made pauperie to get those seasonal citrus spices flowing around your home. Think cranberry, pine and cinnamon… Choose an attractive bowl to add sticks of cinnamon, pine cones, dried segments of orange and sprigs of fern to create your own winter show-stopper.
- Similarly, with a few large candles, fern, ribbon and some festive embellishments, you could make your own centre table decoration or Christmas wreath.
- Let it snow, let it snow… Wait, what snow? So Britain might not be the best location for a true winter wonderland, but you can take matters into your own hand by edging your windows with fake snow.
- Deck the Halls! Get the ladders out (take care!) and adorn your hallway or mantle-piece with garlands. If you have some outdoor lights, line your porch, windows or the fir tree in the front of the garden with your twinkly lights!
- Personalise your own Christmas Crackers and add in some fun/awful jokes and some gifts of your own – people have enough nail-clippers now to last a lifetime, get creative! You can buy your own DIY cracker kits from a host of different retailers this season.
So that’s your house relatively sorted. All you need to sort now is the food, drink, presents… better get making a list!
We hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Feature image credit: wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock