Photo by David Eugene
Christmas time is just around the corner, and that means millions of Canadians will soon be visited by Santa Claus.
As the legend goes, Santa and his reindeer will fly in his sleigh to every house around the world, landing on the roof, heading down the chimney and filling up on milk and cookies, before delivering your gifts (or coal!) and taking off to the next house. Sounds charming, right? And it is – until you sit down and think about the costs you, as a homeowner, might face in order to get jolly old St. Nick into your house.
“And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.”
Up on the Rooftop
Santa, his eight (nine, if you count Rudolph with his nose so bright) reindeer, and his sleigh full of presents land on your rooftop every year on Christmas Eve. I hate to break it to you, but most roofs aren’t designed to hold dear old St. Nick and his giant sleigh – not to mention all those reindeer hooves, which are sure to do a number on your paneling.
While your roof might survive a few years’ worth of December 24th visits, you’ll inevitably have to replace those tromped on shingles. Typically, the cost to replace a roof falls between $2,000 and $12,000, depending on the size of the roof, quality of materials, and workmanship. According to an article by YourHome.ca, the average cost of re-roofing in Canada is a hefty $8,000.
“As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.”
Down the Chimney
Everyone knows that Santa somehow manages to slide his way down your chimney (with a big bag of gifts, no less). So, the least you can do is ensure your chimney is in tip-top shape before the big day. Calling in a professional cleaning company to take care of any leaves, ashes, or soot that might be jammed up in your chimney will cost anywhere between $80 to $200.
No chimney? No problem! Simply call up a mason, cut a cheque, sit back and watch as contractors build a customized entrance for the big guy in red. But be sure to check your local bylaws and enforcement codes first. The last thing you want is a municipal fine for building a chimney that’s too tall.
For a gas/propane fireplace with a chimney, you’re looking at roughly $6,000 between the materials and the contractor costs. If you want a traditional, open hearth, wood-burning fireplace, HouseLogic estimates you’re looking at over $20,000. The typical cost to add a fireplace to your home, however, falls between $2,000 and $9,000.
Through the Window
Although you might be sold on the idea of making your home more Santa-friendly with a chimney, your family members might not be so keen on the idea. If that’s the case, you can let the jolly gent in the old-fashioned way: by leaving a window open.
However, even this grand entrance comes at a cost: drafty windows and doors mean a 15-to-30 percent increase in energy consumption. Luckily for you, that translates to just a couple of dollars for one 12-hour Santa-related stint.
“He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.”
Once Santa’s Inside
This is where that chimney cleaning investment might come in handy. Santa’s bound to get dirty from sliding down grimy chimneys all night, so you should hope your home is at the beginning of his route. If not, between the trail of soot from fireplace-to-tree, and the cookie crumbs and runaway chocolate bits on the carpet, you’re looking at a post-Christmas carpet-cleaning bill.
For less than $100, you can rent a carpet cleaner and do it yourself. Alternatively, for a bit more cash (the amount varies depending on the size of your room and condition of your carpets), you can call in the professionals to handle the dirty work.
Of course, no Santa visit is complete without milk and cookies for the old guy. And if you’re feeling extra-nice, you’ll also leave some carrots and celery for Dasher and the gang. A box of cookies and jug of milk is a nominal cost when you think about all the goodies Santa is putting under your tree. The whole ordeal will cost you $10 at most, unless you splurge for a box of delicious gourmet bakery cookies.
“A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack”
I think it’s safe to say that this is one occasion where the benefits of letting Santa in outweigh the costs associated with it.
When Santa visits your home this year, what do you hope to find under the tree?