If you’re like the thousands of pet owners planning to go away during the festive period, finding the right sitter to make sure your pet has a special time over Christmas is crucial. However, it is important to consider the needs of your sitter too, as this will help ensure that you find the perfect sitter to spend time with your beloved pet over Christmas — after all, it’s their Christmas too.
Your award-winning Community Manager, Auntie Angela, has been on both sides of the pet sitting journey — as both a pet sitter and a pet owner — and has put together her top tips to help you have happy, safe, and successful Christmas house sits.
1. Add your dates early - and be flexible
Christmas is an extremely busy time of year, so adding your dates as early on as possible is key to avoid disappointment and ensure you secure your pet's sitter with plenty of time to spare.
You should also aim to be as flexible as possible with your dates of travel, and make sure to communicate well in the lead up to the sit. If you can, try to arrange for a virtual tour a couple of days before you are leaving, so they'll have everything they need to settle in. This will help ensure you’re set up to have a relaxing Christmas break, with the peace of mind that your sitter is fully settled and ready to enjoy time with your pet.
Auntie Angela’s top tip: "This year, why not consider an application from one of our new sitters? Many sitters are in high demand this time of year, and this is a great way to discover an amazing new sitter before they build up their profile. I have 80+ reviews now, but guess what? I started with none, but was determined to provide the best pet care possible. Our new sitters are in exactly the same position."
2. Make a special festive setting
There are a number of reasons why sitters choose to house and pet sit over the Christmas period. The majority look forward to festive experiences in the company of new pet friends, but put yourself in your sitter’s shoes — what would you look for in the perfect Christmas sit? Add thoughtful festive touches to the house and give a warm welcome in your introduction. Anything you can do to make your home extra special will help draw in like-minded sitters, as it shows that you care.
If you're planning to decorate your home for Christmas, be sure to mention this in your listing (or likewise, let sitters know if you're happy for them to decorate, particularly if it is a long-term sit.
3. Add festive photos
Using high quality, clear photos that realistically reflect your home and pets are key to successful sit, at any time of the year. However, when looking for sitters at Christmas, you can recreate an inviting festive scene by using photos of your house decorated from a past Christmas. And, as part of the holiday tradition is to eat, drink and be merry, make sure to include a photo of your kitchen, so your sitter can picture themselves making their festive feast.
Auntie Angela’s top tip: know of an inviting local pub or restaurant that serves food on Christmas Day? Let them know so they can book in if they don’t want to cook.
4. Be open to your sitter bringing a guest
Although your pet will undoubtedly make great festive company for your sitter, if you’re happy to, offer them the option to bring a friend or relative in case they’d like some human company, too.
If it's not possible to have an additional guest, you could always offer your sitter the option to have a friend or family member over for Christmas dinner during their stay.
5. Consider your handover date
If you’re planning to be at home to bring in the New Year, try and return from your travels earlier than New Year’s Eve. Just like Christmas, New Year is an extremely busy and expensive time to travel, so consider that your sitter may need to get somewhere different in time for the New Year.
Auntie Angela’s top tip: as transport is likely to be restricted around this time, why not help look at travel times and availability for your sitter? If they have something booked already, you could offer to help them find suitable transportation to the train or bus station/airport, too.
Whether you’re still searching for the perfect Christmas house sitter to take care of your beloved pet, or already have one secured, by following these straightforward Christmas pet sitter tips, you’ll have them flocking to spend the festivities with your pet in no time.
We have a blog packed with even more guidance on how you can create the perfect owner listing all year round. If you have any more questions or need some further advice, then why not pop on over to our friendly Community Forum?