Christmas is a fun and festive time of year, but it’s not ideal for home renovations. The cold winter weather makes many repairs difficult or impossible, plus you’ll be busy getting ready for the holidays and Santa’s arrival. It’s best to take care of everything during the fall so everyone can appreciate the upgrades and you can ensure Santa has a safe place to land his sleigh.

Be sure to make these five essential home repairs before Santa Claus arrives on Christmas Eve to make the season even more jolly.

1.   Repair the Roof and Gutters

When Santa lands his sleigh on your home’s roof, will it have the strength to hold that extra weight? What about the heavy snow and ice? Believe it or not, just 1 foot of fresh snow weighs 4 pounds per square foot and is the equivalent of a large pickup truck. Snow and ice storms have caused thousands of roofs to collapse over the years.

Harsh winter weather can also do a number on your gutters, creating thick ice dams that prevent water from draining. Improper drainage inevitably leads to roof leaks, which can end up causing major infrastructural problems. That’s why you must get your roof and gutters into shape before Santa arrives.

Start by removing the leaves and twigs that accumulated during the fall. Clearing out your gutters will ensure proper drainage and prevent ice dams from building up. Next, perform a thorough inspection of the roof’s shingles. You might have to apply an extra layer of sealant or install a rolled weather guard under the shingles to avoid leaks.

You might have to bring in a professional roofing contractor if you notice broken shingles or significant damage during your inspection. Knock out this project as soon as possible before the winter weather officially arrives.

2.   Strengthen Your Home’s Climate Control

Climate control is a huge part of keeping your home warm and comfortable during the winter. Santa deserves to be greeted with a warm and cozy living room when he comes down the chimney. The big man needs a break from the freezing temperatures and harsh winds on his busy Christmas Eve.

The key to controlling indoor climate is trapping warm air inside and keeping cold air outside where it belongs. Start by sealing the cracks in your windows and doors with new caulk or draft strips to limit drafts. You might also have to replace loose or damaged window panes. Consider upgrading to double or triple-pane windows with lower air infiltration rates.

Here are some other small adjustments that will make your home more resilient to cold weather:

  • Keep your interior doors open to allow for warm air circulation.
  • Move furniture and other objects away from your heating vents.
  • Install heavier drapes to contain heat.
  • Open the curtains on sunny days to maximize natural light intake.
  • Add more insulation to your attic, basement and walls.

These adjustments will make your home more warm and comfortable and also improve energy efficiency. Proper sealing and insulation can reduce heating costs by an average of 15% and take pressure off your HVAC system.

3.   Improve Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality tends to get worse during wintertime because you’re forced to spend more time inside with the doors and windows closed. Inadequate ventilation allows contaminants to build up, making everyone more prone to coughing, sneezing, difficulty breathing or more severe allergic reactions.

Here are some simple things you can do improve your home’s air quality this winter:

  • Bring in more air-purifying house plants to filter carbon dioxide and other pollutants.
  • Put portable air purification devices in high-traffic areas.
  • Avoid using candles, chemical cleaning products and combustion appliances.
  • Dust and vacuum at least every week.
  • Crack the windows occasionally to get fresh air.

A home with crisp air quality will make a great impression on Santa and other holiday guests. Instead of entering a stuffy allergy-inducing living room, he will be greeted with a fresh and welcoming atmosphere. All it takes is some simple routine maintenance tasks.

4.   Clean the Chimney and Fireplace

Be sure to clean out your chimney and fireplace. Neglecting to maintain these areas can cause a winter stack effect that creates strong backdrafts. The backdrafts send cold air, smoke and soot back into your home, which can lead to allergic reactions and carbon monoxide poisoning. This environment isn’t ideal for your family or Santa.

The most common causes of the winter stack effect are chimney blockages, damaged fire dampers and poor insulation. You should be able to clear any blockages with a long wire brush and flashlight, but the other two issues might require professional attention. After cleaning the chimney and fireplace, light a small test fire to see if everything works properly.

5.   Update Your Kitchen Appliances

Christmas is a centuries-old tradition, but the practice of leaving cookies and milk for Santa is relatively new. It started during the Great Depression as a display of gratitude for the gifts that children received. After almost 100 years of being spoiled with sugary treats at every house, Saint Nick has developed some high standards.

Before he arrives this year, consider updating your kitchen with new appliances so you can make a better batch of cookies than ever. Start by upgrading to an energy-efficient oven so you can cut utility costs. Then, focus on smaller improvements such as new baking tools, measuring cups, cutlery and food storage containers.

These upgrades will come in handy during other special occasions like holiday dinners, family gatherings and neighborhood parties. Santa isn’t the only person who benefits from a decked-out kitchen.

Prepare Your Home for the Holidays

The holidays can be a hectic time of the year, so you should knock out these repairs before your schedule gets too busy and your focus shifts to shopping, wrapping presents and decorating for the season. Santa Claus will appreciate your effort and attention to detail, and so will your family and friends. Christmas is the season of giving, and there’s no better gift than improving your loved ones’ quality of life.