How Much Does It Cost to Get Your House Ready for Santa?

silhouette of Santa and his reindeer flying through the night sky

You’d better hope Santa Claus puts some cash under the Christmas tree — you’ll need the dough to help cover the expense of his visit on the night before Christmas. For LawnStarter’s “Santa Is Coming” Cost Index, we found that the average cost to prepare your home for Santa’s arrival in 2023 is $2,779.21.

This total includes costs from fixing the roof to buying Christmas stockings. If you don’t have to repair the landing deck for Santa’s sleigh, your cost to get your home ready for that jolly old elf is just a hair over $2,000.

But to put that total of $2,779.21 in perspective, this amount is significantly less than the cost of buying every item mentioned in the “Twelve Days of Christmas” song. This year, the song’s haul will ding your bank account to the tune of $46,729.86.

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To calculate the “Santa Is Coming” Cost Index, LawnStarter researched the costs for 13 items you should jot down on your to-do list before St. Nick comes shimmying down the chimney. (Make sure you check that list twice.) In most cases, the cost of goods or services is based on a U.S. average.

Roof Repair

Workers working on Reroofing
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Personal finance blogger Paula Pant says that while the “Santa Is Coming” Cost Index tally sounds high, one item — roof repair — “is the gift that keeps on giving.” Roof repair accounts for more than 27% of our index.

“Repairing your roof is a need, rather than a want, since it will protect your home from leaks, mold, and infestations. I’d prioritize spending your holiday money on that,” Pant says.

If Santa, his sleigh, and his eight reindeer are landing on your roof, you don’t want them crashing through it. Therefore, it’s smart to consider the cost of fixing your roof before Santa comes to town.

Cost: $767

Chimney Sweep

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Sure, Santa is used to getting soot on his suit from squeezing into chimneys around the world, but if you hope to be in Santa’s good graces, you probably should ponder the price of a chimney sweep before he arrives.

Today’s chimney sweeps are a far cry from the soot-covered figures you might remember from Mary Poppins. Modern chimney cleaning is more high-tech and efficient, utilizing advanced tools and vacuum systems to minimize mess.

Cost: $230

Gallon of Whole Milk

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Even Santa needs a break from his busy night of gift-giving, and what better way to delight him than with a refreshing glass of milk? Sticking to tradition, you’ll want to set out a glass of milk so that Santa can keep up his energy. It is a thoughtful gesture at a low cost.

Cost: $3.93

Chocolate Chip Cookies

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No Christmas Eve is complete without setting out chocolate chip cookies for Santa. Whether they’re homemade or your favorite store-bought variety, having these sweet treats ready adds a special touch to his visit. Make sure to have a generous plateful — enough to delight Santa and share the festive joy with your family.

Cost: $5.13 per pound

Bag of Carrots

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While preparing for Santa’s arrival, let’s not forget about his faithful reindeer team. Picking up a 1-pound bag of carrots can help ensure Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, and, of course, Rudolph, stay energized with this nutritious snack. 

Cost: $1.16 per bag

Here’s a Tip: Consider starting a vegetable garden for home-grown carrots for next year’s holidays.

Christmas Lights Installation

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The magic of Christmas often begins with that first enchanting view of a home adorned with twinkling lights. Moreover, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, so you’ll want to be sure the outside of your house is gleaming with Christmas lights.

Cost: $433

Real Christmas Tree

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A real, live Christmas tree is the centerpiece of holiday cheer in many homes. Its fresh pine scent and natural beauty bring the essence of a winter wonderland indoors. It is also the perfect spot for Santa to leave his gifts, so don’t forget about this timeless tradition.

Cost: $90.38

See Related: LawnStarter’s Holiday Decor Survey finds most people under 55 prefer a real tree over an artificial one.

Christmas Stockings

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Preparing your home for Santa’s visit includes hanging Christmas stockings for each family member.  Whether handmade or purchased, each stocking will await Santa’s arrival, ready to be filled with surprises. 

Cost: $38.71 (6-pack)

Mouse Control

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Consider the cost of a mouse exterminator to maintain a clean and welcoming environment for Santa’s visit. A mouse-free home ensures that your holiday treats and gifts remain undisturbed, keeping your festive night magical and merry.

Cost: $339.50

Leaf Removal

picture of a person removing leaves
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While Santa’s sleigh is set to land on the roof, he’ll surely have a bird’s-eye view of your lawn. To make sure your home looks its holiday best, consider the cost of leaf removal. A clean, leaf-free lawn adds to the overall festive appeal, ensuring that your home doesn’t look ho-ho-hum from Santa’s vantage point. 

Cost: $300

Lawn Mowing

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Ponder the cost of a final lawn mow before the holiday season sets in. This ensures that your yard presents a tidy and well-kept appearance, enhancing the holiday lights and decorations. A freshly mowed lawn also shows Santa that every detail has been taken care of in anticipation of his magical visit.

Cost: $50 (varies depending on the size of your yard)

Yard Cleanup

Group of gardeners cleaning up leaves from a property and the street
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In the run-up to Santa’s arrival, a thorough yard cleanup is essential, especially in regions where the fall season leaves its mark. Investing in a yard cleanup service or dedicating a weekend to tidying up can transform your outdoor space into a welcoming scene for the festive season.

Cost: $280

See Related: How to Put Holiday Decorations in Your Yard and not Harm Your Grass

Gutter Cleaning

A man in gloves is cleaning a blocked rain gutter attached to the asbestos roof by removing fallen leaves, debris, dirt and moss to avoid roof gutter problems and water damage.
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As you deck the halls and mow the lawn, don’t forget about the gutter cleaning costs. This task ensures that your house looks well-maintained from Santa’s rooftop perspective. Clean gutters keep pests from making their home in them and prevent potential water damage, keeping your abode in top shape for the holiday season.

Cost: $240

FAQ About Preparing for Christmas

How do I Make My House Look Like Santa Came?

Making your home look like Santa Claus has paid a visit is a delightful way to keep the magic of Christmas alive, especially for the little ones. Here are some tips to create a scene that suggests Santa really did stop by:

  1. Leave a trail of cookie crumbs leading away from the plate.
  2. Sip a bit from the glass of milk left for Santa, leaving it half-full.
  3. Scatter small items like buttons (preferably red or green) or jingle bells around the house.
  4. Create snowy footprints leading from the chimney or door to the Christmas tree.
  5. Take small bites out of the cookies and the carrots left for the reindeer.
  6. Leave a handwritten note from Santa.

What are the Best Greens for Christmas?

Selecting the right green for Christmas can make all the difference in creating a festive atmosphere. Here are some of the best greens to consider for your holiday decorations:

  • Holly
  • Juniper
  • Rhododendron
  • Eucalyptus
  • Mountain laurel
  • Cedar
  • Pine
  • Boxwood
  • And no Christmas is complete without, of course, the mistletoe

Which Real Christmas Tree is Best?

Choosing the best real Christmas tree often comes down to personal taste and specific requirements, as different types of trees offer varying characteristics. Some trees have strong scents, others are known for their needle retention, and sizes can vary greatly. Here are a few popular types to consider:

  • Grand fir
  • Balsam fir
  • Douglas fir
  • Noble fir
  • Scots pine
  • Blue spruce
  • Black hills spruce

Get the Final Touches for Santa’s Visit

As our list reveals, preparing your home for Santa’s grand arrival can be quite the undertaking. But remember, you don’t have to tackle this festive to-do list alone. Just like Santa has his team of elves, you can call upon local lawn care professionals and our home gnome experts to lend a hand.

They’re the unsung heroes who can help ensure that everything is in top shape for the big night. With their assistance, you can transform your home into a welcoming haven for Santa and his reindeer, without shouldering all the work yourself.

Former LawnStarter editor John Egan initiated the first “Santa Is Coming” Cost Index. Maria Isabela Reis included and updated many of Egan’s annual holiday expenses and added her own touches to this report.

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Maria Isabela Reis

Maria Isabela Reis

Maria Isabela Reis is a writer, psychologist, and plant enthusiast. She is currently doing a PhD in Social Psychology; and can't help but play with every dog she sees walking down the street.