Kirsty McLuckie: Is it too early for us to mention the C-word?

Strong views can be expressed about the precise date that Christmas decorations are allowed in your home. The hardline insist that you should only deck the halls from Christmas Eve until 6 January, while in somehouseholds inflatable reindeer have been prancing in gardens for weeks already.

Illustration: Shutterstock
Illustration: Shutterstock

I visited a friend at the weekend who seems to have lost her mind about Christmas. Not only has her tree been up for weeks, but her whole house is also blinged with festive cheer inside and out.

It is the first time I have seen a Santa-themed loo rug, and I didn’t know it was possible to get a hand soap dispenser which plays festive tunes either, but she has managed it.

I used to be a bit sniffy about these sort of shenanigans but I have decided to restrain my uncalled-for opinions this year.

Christmas 2020 was such a frugal affair that we all have some making up to do and if you want to plant a full sized pair of red-trousered legs upside down in your chimney from mid-November, who am I to object?

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Interior design company Furniturebox has conducted research into the most popular time to decorate for Christmas, and according to their survey, it is the week beginning 29 November.

I’m not sure I could take a whole month of vacuuming pine needles and restraining the cat from destroying the baubles, but for those who are trying to sell their properties the considerations can be a bit more serious.

We all know the mantra of declutter, declutter, declutter when viewers are coming round, so rooms festooned in tinsel and home-made paper chains are unlikely to impress, although they do have offer the opportunity to more devious sellers to hide the odd crack or chip in the paintwork.

But subtle Christmas decorations can enhance the attractiveness of a house. Experts advise a small artificial tree – particularly if the room sizes and ceiling heights aren’t great. If you don’t trust your own taste, you can buy them ready decorated. It is also best to stick to a simple colour scheme rather than the usual collection of children’s art projects that might have sentimental value but lack aesthetic appeal.

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A festive wreath on the front door will add some kerb appeal – but there are some more practical preparations when showing your house at this time of year, when there might be pitfalls beyond personal taste in decorations.

Winter viewings are much more likely to be held in darkness, so making sure the approach is well lit is vital. Outdoor lighting should be left on when viewers are expected.

Paths can be treacherous with wet leaves or ice, so sweep and salt before any viewers arrive. Make sure gutters are free from leaves, as being dripped on while standing at the door is unlikely to endear your home to the viewer either.

Get the temperature right inside, too. A fire is a welcoming focus and should make the house smell inviting, but it you don’t have a fireplace, this time of year gives you an excuse to add a little extra ambience by lighting scented candles. It is subtly festive, masks musty smells and a lot less obvious – and easier – than the mouldy old trick of baking bread.

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- Kirsty McLuckie is property editor at The Scotsman