Being a good neighbour over the festive period and beyond
Christmas is a time of peace and goodwill to all people. And that begins with those close to you. Meaning relatives, friends and of course, neighbours.
But being a good neighbour doesn’t just involve inviting the folks next door round for a glass of mulled wine. There are lots of practical gifts you can give to bring the festive spirit into the lives of those you live near to spread a bit cheer; or even divert a household disaster that would ruin Christmas.
And our recommendations for festive friendliness don’t need to end on Dec 25th. Most, like the book tokens you still get from your Aunty Margaret, are valid all year round. So why not unwrap some Christmas spirit courtesy of Smoove Move that you can continue spreading long into 2018? Read on to find out how.
Pets at home?
If your neighbours have pets like cats or dogs, it may be time to forget about those nocturnal raids on flowerbeds or little unwanted gifts left on the pavement and offer to lend a hand. Many people go away at Christmas and New Year and could need their furry friends feeding or exercising. And if they’re elderly or ill, offering to take their pooch for a walk will be a most welcome gesture they’ll thank you for.
Check for leaking gutters
At this time of year, many people’s gutters become blocked by winter leaves that create leaks and splashes that flow down the wall, rather than the downspout. This isn’t just irritating, but can also cause damp to enter the property through the brick work. Blockages like this are hard to spot if you are inside the house. If you can see a neighbour’s gutter is blocked, why not give them a knock and let them know? A quick 10-minute job now could help them avoid an expensive one in the future.
No snow on roof?
Everyone loves the sight of snow-covered rooftops on a cold, frosty, winter’s day. But as well as being a good indicator of what time of year it is, the white stuff also clearly shows who has loft insulation and who doesn’t. If someone’s roof is snow-free and their neighbours’ aren’t, this means that heat from the house is rising up and escaping through the roof. Give them a nice a warm feeling and let them know there’s a visible reason that their heating bills are going through the roof.
If things freeze or it snows, slippy paths can often leave elderly people or those who find it harder to get around trapped at home. Why not make life a little easier by clearing your neighbour’s paths while you’re doing yours? A bit of rock salt and a shovel can open up access to the world once more.
Leaving a space for Santa’s sleigh is a given, though he normally sensibly chooses to park on the roof. If only all festive visitors were so polite. At this time of year, many people have guests for parties and get-togethers and parking spots can be at a premium. If you’re away, let your neighbours know that they can use your spaces and you may well get invited to their next soiree. Also, if you are having people over, tell them and you may avoid parking misunderstandings.
Viva la difference
Of course, not all people celebrate Christmas so be understanding (we’re sure you would be!) if neighbours haven’t tried to break the world record for fairy lights or aren’t blasting ‘Frosty the Snowman’ out at all hours of day and night. But don’t forget – whatever religion you are, nobody can resist a mince pie so don’t leave these neighbours off your Christmas list!
The cause of many neighbourly fall-outs, parties provide a volatile mix of people, noise, disruption and mess that can cause even the most mild-mannered homeowner to boil over. If you are a considerate citizen, it should be fairly easy to avoid party problems by nipping them in the bud early. Checking out just what level of volume is acceptable in advance is a wise move, particularly if you live in a terrace or flat. But the best party plan we’ve come across is the early-warning system: Let your neighbours know you are having a 24-hour rave in advance and they’ll be prepared and less likely to take complain on the night. You could even go so far as inviting them!
A quick win when it comes to neighbourhood brownie points is to find out when the bins need to go out, as the days normally change. Then offer to help if neighbours will find it tricky or are away.
Finally, if you know a neighbour will be alone at Christmas, why not set an extra space on Christmas Day and welcome them into your home? For not much extra effort or expense, this is one gesture that really demonstrates the true spirit of Christmas.