If you can’t conjure up maids a-milking or swans a-swimming as Christmas presents for those near and dear, give an inexpensive gift they’re sure to love — yourself, and a home improvement or maintenance helping hand.
Show up ready to fix, repair, and renew the house of a friend or family member who needs your time and energy. Even if you’re not the handiest, your willingness makes a gift that lasts long after the spirit of the holiday has started to fade.
We’ll help you by offering up an idea every day for the next two weeks. (Did you know that the 12 Days of Christmas actually begin on Christmas Day, and the Twelfth Night is always celebrated on the evening of Jan. 5? Neither did we! Thanks, Wikipedia!)
But we’re moving up the 12 Days timeline, so you can give your helping hand before Christmas — when folks might need it most — or to schedule your gift when it’s most convenient.
We’ll compile all our tips on their own page. Check over the coming weeks for other inspirational gift ideas.
New filters for their HVAC
Keep your special someone’s heating system working properly by offering to change out their furnace filters. This often-overlooked maintenance task can be a hassle, so you’ll be a holiday hero for taking it on. Bring a large garbage bag for disposing of the old filters.
Go the extra mile and buy new filters as a gift. Sound corny? It’s not, because you’ll be showing someone how much you care about their health. The EPA estimates that indoor air is 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air.
Standard home furnace air filters have microparticle ratings that indicate how efficient they are. The higher the rating, the more dust, mold, and pet dander the filter removes. Minimum efficiency rating values (MERV) range from 5 to 12; pollen-and-dust microparticle ratings range from 600 to 2400.
Inexpensive filters cost about $2. You’ll pay about $12 to $17 for a pleated filter with a 1250 pollen rating, and $20 to $25 for a filter rated 2400.
Don’t forget: Before you buy, you’ll need to know the exact size of the filters you’re replacing.