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If you've decided to move house in the Yuletide period, there's no doubt that you're going to find it doubly demanding at this time of year. So if you've got a house move planned for the festive season, here's 12 tips for moving home over Christmas, put together with help from Open Property Group, who've years of experience in the property market and moving home.

1. Make a detailed plan and timeline

Whatever the time of year, moving house can be stressful, so it makes sense to be as prepared as possible. Make detailed lists and a plan to help you keep the whole project on track.

2. Book the removal company

Removal companies can get booked up quickly this time of year, so make sure you book one as soon as possible. You may want to get quotes from several companies before you make your final decision.

3. Don't underestimate how much stuff you actually have

Leaving packing to the last minute is never a good idea. Start early by dismantling large items and packing up everything that you're not using. Begin with your loft and work downwards, and don't forget your Christmas decorations. Put them to one side so that they are packed last and are easily accessible once you're in your new home.

4. Take the opportunity to declutter

You don't want to move unwanted items from one property to another. Not only will they take up valuable space, but you'll actually be paying to transport stuff that you don't use, you don't like and you don't really need. Send them for recycling or donate items in good condition to your local charity shop.

5. Think about sending your children to stay with friends or relatives

Christmas is already an exciting time for children. Add moving into the mix and it can really unsettle them at this time of year. Therefore, it makes sense to let them stay with relatives or friends until you've moved all your stuff. You're more likely to relax and concentrate on the move, if you don't have to worry about the kids.

6. Make sure that your pets are safe

Pets can also get frightened and confused in the lead up to a move, and especially on the day itself. Consider sending them to the cattery or kennels, or to a relative or friend until the house is in order. And don't forget to keep them indoors for the first few days to reduce the risk of them running away or getting lost.

7. Keep all important documents and items in one place

There's nothing worse than losing your birth certificate or forgetting where you packed the necklace your granny left you in her will. Keep all important documents such as passports, birth certificates, heirlooms and photo albums together in one place, and designate one person to take full responsibility for ensuring that they're kept safe.

8. Don't forget your meters

It's important to inform power companies and service providers that you're moving several weeks before the big day; the last thing you want is to be without power, water, internet or TV during the Christmas period. Give them plenty of notice and don't forget to read your meters to ensure that you get accurate final bills.

9. Change your address

Contact all the relevant people and companies with your new address, either online, by telephone or by letter. Don't forget to register with a new doctor or dentist, and get yourself on the electoral roll as soon as possible. And to ensure that this year's Christmas cards don't go astray, set up a post redirection service with the Post Office.

10. Be prepared for bad weather

Perhaps one of the worst things about moving at Christmas is the unpredictability of the weather. Make sure that you're well prepared by having salt or grit and snow shovels on hand to clear roads and pathways. You wouldn't want the removal men to slip as they're carrying your prize china. It's also a good idea to have torches on hand, especially if you're still moving items into your new property after dark.

11. Have plenty of food on hand

Pack up some food for snacks and make sure that you know where the kettle and tea supplies are. If necessary identify your nearest takeaway, after all no-one has time to cook on moving day. You might want to arrange an online shop for delivery the day after you move. This will allow you to get on with unpacking without having to go and stock up your cupboards and freezer.

12. Don't forget to decorate

While it's important to get at least your bedrooms and living rooms habitable as soon as possible, putting up a few Christmas decorations will make your new property feel more like home, and add a touch of festive cheer. Take some time to sit down, put your feet up, have a drink and watch the Christmas lights. You've done it - you've moved house at Christmas!

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