15 home projects to do before the holidays.


The holidays are just around the corner. Whether you plan to spend it with your roommates or family members, make your home a welcoming spot to be during this joyful time of year. And by working with a few home improvement professionals to complete your projects, you can enjoy your end-of-year festivities to the fullest.

1. Put up your holiday lights outside.

christmas lights on home exterior

One of the biggest holiday projects is, of course, hanging all those lights. You may have a tradition of doing it with your family or having friends come over to help. Due to local restrictions, that may not be possible this year. Plus, the task of hanging lights from your second-floor eaves can be quite dangerous if not done properly. 

While you want your house to look beautiful during the holidays, you also want to remain safe. Hire a holiday light installation professional who has the experience to make your home look its best during the season.

2. Create a twinkling wonderland inside. 

christmas lights home interiorOf course, you can decorate your tree and fireplace with a few string lights. But consider buying a few seasonal string lights or fixtures that display holiday colors (red, green, white, blue, etc.) or designs (snowflakes, Christmas trees, etc.). Hang these up in your kitchen and hallways, or along your staircase rails or windows. 

If you don't want to go all in on the holiday theme, consider other options. Installing a chandelier, dome lighting, dimmer switches or track lighting are just a few ways you can change the look of a room in an instant and give your space a new feel. 

top-rated electrician or lighting company can safely upgrade your wiring and install a new fixture to give you the look you desire.

Related: 20 brilliant ways to brighten up your home.

3. Add some winter curb appeal.

front door christmas decorThis may seem like a small task, but it has a huge impact. The front door to your home can be a statement piece to the exterior of your house.

Painting a pop of color can breathe new life into your exterior. Hire a door painter to help you choose the right paint and make it look just the way you want in time for the holidays.

If you don’t want to paint your door, spend some time decorating it for the holidays. You don’t have to go overboard, but a few creative touches can go a long way. For example: 

  • Hang a wreath decorated with red holly, ribbons or bows. 
  • Place a holiday-themed welcome mat outside your front door. 
  • Hang a few ornaments on your potted plants on your porch. 
  • Place holiday pillows on the bench or chair on your porch.

Related: 13 winter curb appeal ideas for your home.

4. Clean up your front yard.

winter home exteriorThe outside of your house is perhaps the only thing most people see right now, so it’s important to keep it looking great. Completing specific maintenance tasks throughout the year will help protect your home's exterior — but a few touch-ups before the holidays can make it shine.

Having your home’s exterior pressure washed can make an old paint job look like new. It gets rid of the grime that has been building all year long. And, pressure washing can also help eliminate mold or mildew. If it’s warm enough to be outside for your holiday celebration, a professionally pressure-washed deck will be an ideal space for your household to relax.

In addition to pressure washing, consider doing these exterior cleaning tasks:

5. Deep clean your home. 

cleaning kitchen stoveThis may be the most important project you can do during this particular holiday season. Health and safety are at the top of everyone’s lists right now. Whether you plan to have guests or not this holiday season, deep cleaning your home is one of the best investments to make right now.

For the end-of-year holidays, make sure you focus on the following:

  • Dusting from top to bottom. This means dusting all the way from your ceiling fan and corners to your countertops and baseboards. 
  • Target hard-to-reach, easy-to-miss areas. Make sure you're checking for dirt, trash and grime underneath furniture, in between appliances and behind the bed frame and toilet. You may be surprised by what you find. 
  • Degreasing your kitchen appliances.  Get rid of the grease and grime found in the oven, on stovetops, inside dishwashers and refrigerators, and more.
  • Prepping the guest rooms and bathrooms. Clean the bedding and towels, dust the rooms, empty the wastebaskets, wipe down the mirrors and scrub off grime from the bathroom tiles.

Related: 25 things in your home you (probably) forgot to clean.

6. Remove stains from your carpets.

clean carpet in bedroomHiring a professional to clean your carpets will make them look like new. A deep professional cleaning removes dust and stains that ordinary vacuuming cannot. It also helps extend your carpet’s life by removing debris that can cause it to deteriorate over time.

During the warmer months, pollen and airborne pollutants enter your home and attach to your carpets. Once the cold weather approaches, you seal everything up and end up trapping those unhealthy contaminants in your home. Having a pro clean your carpeting can help eliminate those additional allergens.

7. Clean your furniture and upholstery. 

deep cleaning furnitureWhen you're hosting holiday guests, there's nothing more embarrassing than having them sit on a visibly dirty couch or chair.  Take the time to remove stains. You can hire someone to clean your furniture. Or, you can hire a professional to repair or completely reupholster your damaged pieces.

8. Add new paint or wallpaper.

freshly painted living room wallA fresh coat of paint (or new wallpaper) brightens up any room. You could make it a holiday paint project, and choose a color for a festive look or freshen up what you already have. Either way, an interior painter or wallpaper specialist can help liven up your space for the holidays. 

Don't know which room to revamp? Your home’s entryway gets the most traffic and inevitably the most scuffs on the walls. A quick paint job can make that small space welcoming. Your family and guests will probably spend most of their time in the kitchen, dining and living room, so why not give these areas a fresh look?

9. Test your kitchen appliances.

christmas dinner turkey ovenFood is a key element of any holiday celebration. Because running to the store isn’t as easy as it used to be, having all your appliances in working order is crucial this holiday season. Having the oven turn off halfway through cooking the Christmas ham is not something anyone wants to face.

Weeks in advance, test your kitchen appliances — especially the ones you haven't touched in a while (like your double oven). If your stovetop burner isn't working, your oven isn’t as hot as it should be or your refrigerator is surprisingly warm to the touch, call an appliance repair professional. They will inspect your appliances and perform repairs, so you’re ready to cook for your family and loved ones.

Related: Tips to keep your appliances running for the holidays (and years to come).

10. Seal your countertops.

kitchen stone countersYou most likely use your kitchen countertops daily, which means they endure a lot of wear, tear and spills. To protect your stone or granite countertops from spills (which are inevitable when you're cooking holiday meals), find out if it’s time to seal them. For example, you might need to seal them if you use abrasive cleaners that can strip away your countertops’ coatings or sealant. 

Read your manufacturer’s instructions to find out how often you should seal your countertops. If you're overdue, contact countertop professionals near you and set up an appointment.

11. Refresh your kitchen cabinets.

kitchen cabinetsCabinets set the tone of your kitchen. A fresh coat of paint, new hardware or altogether new cabinets can bring your kitchen back to life in time for the holiday season. And hiring a professional to do the work can ensure it’s done right and looks great just in time for your holiday dinner. 

12. Inspect your fireplace and chimney.

men in front of fireplaceThe holidays mean cozy evenings by the fire with family and loved ones. Make sure your fireplace is ready for your guests by getting your chimney inspected. A professional chimney inspector will check for any deterioration, blockage or buildup of potentially hazardous materials.

Many chimney inspectors may also offer sweeping services to clean your fireplace and chimney. They will also recommend repairs (and sometimes they can perform those repairs) to ensure a warm and safe night for your household.

13. Keep cold air out. 

caulking windowYou want your home to be as warm and comfortable as possible during the holidays. This sometimes means you need to make some home improvements and conduct a few inspections around the house. 

The colder weather means chilly drafts from old windows, caulk failure or poor insulation. Getting your home’s energy efficiency checked by a professional can help locate where repairs or upgrades need to be done. For example, an insulation contractor can replace or bulk up needed insulation in your attic. A caulking specialist or weatherstripping professional can seal up cracks in the caulking around your windows.

You may also consider upgrading your windows to a more energy-efficient style to keep your house comfortable all year round. For example, windows with wood and fiberglass frames are good choices for insulation. 

14. Check the water temperature.

shower in waterMake sure your holiday guests aren't subjected to freezing cold showers. Before they arrive, inspect the water temperature in the guest bathrooms (as well as your own). If the water doesn't warm, there might be something wrong with your water heater.

Check to see if the pilot light is on. If not, this could be why your water is too cold. Other culprits: your water heater connections may be loose, the thermostat is malfunctioning, the heating element is failing or there's a leak somewhere.  Try these troubleshooting tips. If none of them work, you may need to contact a plumber or water heater specialist.

15. Check the water pressure, too.

water from showerheadWhat's (almost) as good as a hot shower? A shower where the water pressure is just right. So while you're checking the water temperature before your holiday guests arrive, check the pressure too. If it's too low, you may have an issue with the plumbing or your showerhead is clogged. If it's the latter, you can try these DIY tips to unclog your showerhead. But if that doesn't work, contact a plumber to inspect your pipes for clogs, corrosion and other damage.

Hire pros on Thumbtack to get your home holiday-ready.

This year is coming to a close, and with the holidays approaching, you have something good to look forward to. Take the time to find a home remodeling (or maintenance) professional in your area to help you accomplish a few projects and essential tasks. Upgrade your paint, switch out your lights — do whatever you think is necessary to keep you and your guests happy, comfortable and safe this holiday season. 

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