Packed cases

Christmas is a fantastic and exciting time of year for a family get together. As a traditional season of meeting up and getting festive in large groups, what better way to really push the boat out than to rent a beautiful holiday house?

It’s very easy to get carried away with the picture postcard romanticism of Christmas in a large self-catered holiday home but worth remembering that planning for a Christmas holiday away is always a busy and exciting time, and there are plenty of things to things about. In the bustle of trying to remember what to take with you, don’t forget about what you leave behind.

Before embarking on your holiday away, remember these few things to keep you and your home safe and sound

Inform neighbours of your plans

If they’re sticking around they could keep an eye on your house for you.

Adjust your thermostat

Your house doesn’t need to be kept toasty warm if you’re not there, but you don’t want anything to freeze either. Turning it down a few clicks will save you a bit on your winter bill.

Water your tree

Before you go, water your plants and your Christmas tree if you have a real one! You don’t want to come home to a bare tree and carpet covered in needles.

Deter opportunists

Purchase an automatic timer and leave a lamp in your hall or landing, set to come on in the evenings. Christmas tends to be an ‘easy pickings’ time for burglars, so do your best to deter opportunists.

Check your insurance

Make sure you have breakdown cover, and have all the contact details you need on you when you travel. Should the worst happen, Christmas is a busy time on the roads and you don’t want to get stuck.

Christmas Car

Medical Kit

Before you leave the house, make sure you have packed some ‘must have’ items that you may not want to be without: take some medical provisions, because Christmas is a horrible time to be ill. Some cold and flu remedies, paracetamol and a bottle of calpol for the kids is a must.

Powering Electronics

Don’t forget batteries and chargers. There are so many electronic devices around these days, don’t get caught short with a flat tablet battery, or a fancy new toy that can’t be used.

Got all the numbers you need?

Do you need your phone book? Most people have all the contacts they need in their phones these days, but just have a think before you leave, is there any one you would like to call to wish a Merry Christmas? And do you have their number?


Once you arrive you’ll all want to be able to relax and get into the full swing of Christmas. To keep everyone jolly and the week hassle free, we have devised a list of things for you and your group to think about when planning the trip.


Don’t forget the presents!! Maybe for an adult group you could agree on taking a few token gifts and leaving the rest for your return home, to save on car space. Perhaps you could arrange a Secret Santa so everyone only has to worry about one gift? This will help reduce the number of gifts you need to bring for each other and has the added fun element.

Christmas decorations

Although your holiday home may have Christmas decorations, it may be worth remembering a few extras of your own.  Christmas crackers for the table for example and do you have a favourite angel or star for the tree?

Santa’s Stockings

Do not forget the children’s stockings!

PresentsFood & Drink

Perhaps the most time consuming element of planning a family holiday away, with the potential added stress of a Christmas roast with all the trimmings added to the mix. Plan your shopping in advance, order what you need to, and make sure you know where your local shops are in case you need to top up supplies. A weekly menu may seem a little regimented for a holiday, but it helps to have an idea of what you’re going to do on each day. Don’t forget to watch out for ‘use by’ dates if you’re shopping before you go.

Too many cooks spoil the broth

Preparing a meal for a large group can be stressful even if you enjoy cooking, so again, plan your meal, and enlist help where necessary. Too many cooks may spoil the broth, but if you have the right amount working together you can create hassle free mealtimes for all. Maybe each family/couple could take it in turns to cook for the group for a day?

Shopping listThe Big Day

No one wants to feel like they’re under a regime, but having a plan for Christmas day will make sure everything gets achieved. Different families have different traditions; some do presents before breakfast, some after, some like to have Christmas Dinner at lunch time, for others it’s the evening meal, so getting together and working out what you’re doing when will prevent chaos from ensuing. (Don’t forget to also check out our blog for keeping the family entertained over Christmas!)

Snowy Castle

Celebrating a Christmas, whether with family or friends will be a memorable experience for everyone. A self-catered holiday house is just the thing for a large group, where you can enjoy a home from home experience, with a touch of grandeur or modernity to suit.

There are plenty of large holiday homes available to let over the festive period throughout the UK, so no matter where you live, there’s bound to be a big holiday home to suit your taste and budget in the local area.

If you’re stuck for ideas and would like some help locating a large holiday home for your next Christmas holiday, browse our Christmas Collection here.