NEW research from Jackson-Stops analyses 150 local authorities across England, examining the dual factors of population density and the prevalence of fireplaces and chimneys, to reveal a country-wide ranking of local authorities which allow Santa to deliver festive gifts with ease.

Chimney and fireplace infrastructure are crucial for Father Christmas entering a home easily; more densely populated areas are also good for Santa, minimising the travel distance between dwellings and allowing him to deliver more gifts, more quickly.

Perhaps surprisingly the Cotswolds did not feature in the top ten, not because of a lack of chimneys but for the lack of density of the population which can only be a good thing for those of us fortunate enough to live in the area.

For reference, the top three were Hull, Hastings and Stoke on Trent where he can deliver presents with ease and the bottom three were Three Rivers in Hertfordshire, Surrey Heath and Bracknell Forest.

We hope you have a very good and relaxing Christmas and here are a few reminders for Santa and also if you are currently trying to sell your home:

If you live in a Santa black-spot area there are ways you can make him feel welcome...

- Laying out a selection of mince pies (not just one)

- A glass of milk (whisky can impede Santa's accuracy)

- Carrots for the reindeer

- Make sure alternative exit/entrance routes are clear of obstructions eg Santa can attempt to make do with a window or letter box if a chimney is absent

- A selection of Christmas lights adorning the outside of your home or trees on your property can help guide the sleigh in to land

Getting winter buyers through the door...

- Santa might not be the only visitor you are hoping to attract to your home this Christmas.

There are a smaller number of savvy buyers on the hunt for property over the winter period, who usually want to move quickly and into there next home as close to the New Year as possible.

- Accurate pricing is more important than ever.

Buyers at this time of year know that the market is less 'frothy' than in the spring and will not be prepared to pay over the odds for a property.

Be realistic to secure a smooth and swift sale.

- Photography is everything.

We all know that daylight is in scarce supply at this time of year, but that doesn't mean you can't capture some gorgeous snaps of your home in all its glory.

Snug lounges and roaring fires can make all the difference.

Make sure your agent uses a highly-skilled photographer and ask to have approval of images before use.

- First impressions count.

In the winter months there is a greater likelihood of a home feeling unwelcoming, especially if it is on the chilly side.

Light that fire or make sure your home is well heated before guests come round.

If it's December, get that Christmas tree up and it never goes amiss to have something scrumptious and warming cooking in the oven.

An when the excitement of Christmas is over, buyers tend to up the ante on theri proeprty search.

Jackson-Stops' website gets the most traffic on the first working day of the New Year.