The holidays are an exciting time to welcome guests into your home, but they can also be stressful. Whether you’re hosting a holiday get-together or are expecting your usual drop-ins, here are some tips to help keep you sane, and get your home ready for the holidays!
For the Home:
Plan Your Cleaning Schedule
The knock on your door always comes before you finish with your house cleaning, so make sure you start early. Plan your cleaning regimen, and make sure you have all the supplies you’ll need on hand (paper towel, cleaner, garbage bags, etc.). Get rid of any clutter in the weeks leading up to your visitors, then vacuum, sweep, and take the trash out the night before. To keep things smelling fresh, wipe down your countertops with a disinfectant cloth and light some candles a few hours before your guests arrive.
Cleaning in advance is less stressful, and by the time those knocks come you’ll be relaxed and ready to enjoy.
Cheater tip: There are ways to cut corners with your cleaning, and there’s no shame in doing so. For instance, sort your dirty laundry into “need now” and “can wait” piles then stash away the lower priority pile in your closet where they won’t be seen.
Clear Out Your Entryway
Stow away jackets and shoes from your entryway to make room for your guests’ winter wear.
See Your Home Through Your Guests’ Eyes
Piles of newspapers, extra couch cushions, laptop chords, and lingering pens can make your home feel stuffy. Gather all the loose ends that don’t have a designated home and put them in a room that no one will be going into. This will help make your home feel more inviting and cozy.
If your dishes have seen better days, pick up a couple of packages of white dishes and accessorize around them. You can usually find sets pretty cheap at some of the big box stores. Alternatively, pick up some festive disposable plates and silverware so that you're not doing dishes all week.
Most people enjoy getting their home spruced up for the holidays, but with guests on the agenda it’s key to make the most of your time. A simple but effective way to decorate is with festive lights. Try glowing white ones for a formal dinner, or multi-coloured for the kids. If you don’t have much in the way of décor, be sure to use it in the most effective places. Try hanging ornaments in doorways, stairwells, mirrors, or mantels, here they’re sure to catch an eye.
Tips for you:
Have a Backup Plan
If you’re responsible for cooking the holiday meal, make sure you have a backup for if things go terribly wrong. A pre-packaged family sized lasagna or pot of chilli can always be used for lunch the next day, but it’s better to have something on hand if you’re in a pinch.
Cheater tip: Hit the grocery store on off hours. Going early in the morning, late at night, or in the middle of the workday means you won’t have to push through crowds. Not only will this save you time, but your sanity too. Make a list beforehand so that you know what you need rather than grabbing whatever comes to mind. The holidays are busy enough as is; you don’t need to be making multiple trips for overlooked items.
It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday festivities and forget about the have-to stuff of everyday life, but planning your payments ahead of time means you won’t have to worry making ends meet mid in the midst of gift and grocery shopping.
Take Advantage of Sales
Take advantage of holiday sales to stock up on “just in case” essentials. Everything from shower towels to baking items can come in handy, and you don’t want to be running to the store or having to throw in a load of laundry while you have company.
Other things to stock up on if you’re expecting guests include toothpaste, soap, shampoo, toilet paper, paper towels, light bulbs, and snacks.
Anticipate the Unexpected
Put together a few “just in case” gifts ahead of time so you’re not stuck looking like a deer in headlights if someone shows up with an unexpected gift for you. Giant mugs stuffed with chocolates, or a bottle of wine wrapped with a ribbon, are great festive ideas and worst case you can keep these for yourself!
With these timely tips you, and your home, will be ready for all the holidays have in store!