Cold nights sipping hot cocoa around the fire. Family visiting from out of town. Dinner parties, cookie exchanges and carolling. The holidays are a time of merriment and gatherings, especially in our homes. No wonder hosts and hostesses often feel overwhelmed just thinking about what needs to be done to prepare for the season! Here are some ideas on how to make your home feel welcoming for your guests, while still giving you time to actually enjoy the holidays.
Make a list and check it twice!
Santa's not the only one who can be prepared. Start by making a list of all that needs to be done. Sort through what can be done ahead of time and what can be delegated to other members in your household, if possible.
Prep as much food as you can beforehand
It's incredibly stressful trying to prepare a holiday meal all in one day, especially if you are the only cook! Start by cleaning out your refrigerator so you can take inventory of what you already have. Toss expired items, and take note of duplicates. Not only will this help you save money (and precious refrigerator space!), but you'll be able to shop ahead of time for what exactly you need for your holiday meal. Hopefully no more last-minute frantic trips to the grocery store!
Planning for a big dinner? Choose side dishes that can be prepared ahead of time and reheated on the big day and keep it simple when it comes to desserts.
Do a deep clean well in advance
It's easier to stay on top of the cleaning when you have guests if you only have to clean up small messes here and there. No time to clean your place from top to bottom in one go? Break your house up room by room and tackle a space per day over a one of two week period, depending on your work schedule. Then, just concentrate on high traffic areas such as the living room, kitchen and bathrooms.
Decorate with accents
There's no need to spend hours decorating your home. You know the saying less is more? Focus on accents and you'll save time and money! Swap out your regular couch pillows and throws for festive ones and light candles with a holiday scent. Do you have extra or mismatched ornaments? Display them in vases or bowls. And make decorating your tree a family event so that everyone pitches in!
Stock up on extra toothbrushes, soap and, of course, toilet paper!
With all the extra guests around, someone is bound to forget one or more of the essentials! And when it comes to toilet paper, let's just say no one wants to be caught empty-handed!
Keep a fresh supply of clean towels and extra bedding handy
Lay out extra towels and face cloths in the guest room and make sure there's enough hand towels in the bathroom. That way you don't have to go scrambling to find more when needed. The same goes for bedding as well, and don't forget extra blankets! Some guests feel the chill more than others! Hint: Use a hypoallergenic laundry detergent for those with sensitivities.
Have your favourite all-purpose cleaner on standby (in more than one location!)
Extra visitors means extra traffic and extra messes! Stick with one cleaning product that has multiple functions so you can quickly and easily tidy up. You should probably also keep a stain remover on hand for all of those, ahem, red wine spills!
That being said, the holidays are meant to be enjoyed, not dreaded. Try not to stress too much about all the details and focus on what's important: spending time and making memories with your loved ones.
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