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Five ways to get ready for Christmas

There’s lots of think of before your Christmas break – presents, crackers, decorations, but there are a few things you should do before you go away, to avoid paying the price for not being prepared for whatever weather may hit.

1. Get your home Christmas ready

This isn’t just putting up the Christmas tree and making it look pretty, it’s thinking about any quick bits of basic maintenance you could do to make your home to make it weather ready. The first thing you should do is to make sure your water pipes and water tanks in the loft are insulated with good quality lagging, to ensure they don’t freeze or burst. Now think about what might be affected by heavy rain and storms - take a look at your outside space and give it a quick check – are there any precarious-looking branches, fences or roof slates you could secure? What about your guttering and drains – make sure they're clear of leaves and branches and won’t get blocked if there's heavy rain.

Read more about getting your home ready for winter

2. Keep your home warm when you’re away

You don’t want to come back from a wonderful Christmas break to find your house freezing cold, taking two days to get the heat back into the property. Keeping your heating at about 14 degrees centigrade should keep water circulating in your pipes in very cold weather. However, if you’re going to be away for a while, turn off your water supply and drain the system. Keeping your home warm will help prevent pipes freezing too. Here are some more tips for heating your home and saving money.

3. Think about your health and wellbeing over the festive period

If you're on regular medication you should ensure you are well-stocked for the festive. Don’t forget that many GP surgeries and pharmacies will be closed over Christmas so it’s worth getting organised with any repeat prescriptions you may require. If you’re going away during the festivities, it is particularly important to make sure you have enough medication and to take it all with you. It is also a good idea to take details of repeat medication with you, such as the re-order list that comes with each prescription.

You can find out more about getting medicine out-of-hours on this NHS advice page.


4. Make your vehicle winter-ready

There are some simple vehicle checks you can make to avoid breakdowns and delays. The best thing to do would be to have a proper garage vehicle service but you can also do some jobs yourself if you’re short on time. Check your oil, lights and tyre tread; top up windscreen fluid, check your wipers and working properly. It’s a good idea to use screen wash additive as this helps to keep the windscreen free of dirt, particularly as in winter the road grime caused by road salting and gritting can cause visibility issues. Put together a simple winter car kit with some essentials in case you run into difficulties: an ice scraper, bottles of water, food, a shovel, blanket and warm clothes, torch with spare batteries, high visibility jacket. This should be in addition to your standard car kit such as your emergency triangle and jump leads. Read more about preparing your vehicle for a journey.


5. Plan your Christmas travel

As we all know, there will be a lot of cars on the roads over the festive period, but planning ahead will help you make your journeys more pleasurable. Could you leave earlier or later or avoid being on the roads at peak times? Plan driving breaks to make your trip become part of your holiday, rather than an arduous experience.

Check the forecast ahead of your festive plans, and keep checking regularly on the Met Office website or mobile app to help you stay weather ready.