Getting Your Home Ready for Holiday Visitors!
And we don’t mean Santa!
‘Tis the season to have family and friends visiting your home. Maybe you’re keeping it low key this year with a holiday party or two or maybe you’re hosting the whole extended family for a three day festivity. Wherever your holiday plans fall on this scale, there are things you can do to prepare your home for your visitors, ensuring that everyone keeps a jolly spirit, including you!
The best laid party plans…
To quote Robert Burns: “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”. To avoid your holiday parties going awry, make a plan.
TIP: Get your personal Christmas shopping out of the way as early as you can! A last minute dash to stand in line forever at the store is not where you want to be when you’re expecting 20 guests at 6 p.m. When you shop for gifts, get one or two extra presents: you never know when someone will give you an unexpected gift and while they likely don’t expect one in return, you’ll wish you had something to give. A great idea is a favorite book or DVD movie of yours: it’s personal without being overwhelming. Chocolates and bottles of wine stowed away are also easy options.
If you’re planning parties, you’ll need to consider:
- The food — including things for people with allergies or preferences.
- The drinks — including non-alcoholic options for the designated drivers.
- The music — because total silence is AWKWARD!
- The decor — inside and out, your house can be the perfect backdrop for festive spirit!
Using a calendar and working backwards from the date of your event, you need to plan time to clean the house, get in all the ingredients for the food and drinks, a playlist, and all the decorations that you want. A theme often helps with the planning of these events, above and beyond the holiday season. For example, if you go with ‘Silver and Sparkle’, you can choose decorations for everything from your table to your tree that are all about silvery snowflakes and sparkling decorations.
If you’re hosting throughout the holiday season, consider that switching from autumn themed decor to full on holiday sparkle may leave you scrambling! The simple solution is to have a separate plastic bin with decorations for each holiday. You can put away one set while putting up the next set, with little fuss and muss.
When you’re entertaining in the evening, it’s a good idea to be prepared for a guest or two having to stay the night. If someone dips their cup a few too often into the spiked eggnog, it’s on you as the host to make sure that that they either have a safe way home or a place to rest their heads until morning. To that end, have a few things stored away that can be useful in these circumstances:
- A couple of extra toothbrushes and mini tubes of paste, soaps / shower gels and shampoo.
- A large t-shirt for sleeping in.
- Clean sheets, extra pillows and blankets, as well as towels for the guest bedroom, or the sofa, depending on how you’re fixed!
For family who comes to stay awhile…
Hosting a party for a few hours is one thing. Hosting several members of your family for several days is another thing entirely! Planning here is useful too, but it’s on a completely different scale. Like what?
Meal planning — Making sure you have meals planned for the duration of their stay avoids that awful “what should we have?” conversation that crops up when no one has given any thought to meals outside of the main event. Check in with family that you haven’t seen in a while about allergies.
Stocking up on everything — If Aunt Joan is partial to a gin and tonic or two in the evening, having enough gin and tonic is a good start! Check your pantry twice to avoid a last minute run to the 24 hour mini-mart for all your essentials, including paper products (toilet paper!), spices, favorite snacks, canned goods, soups and water. Don’t forget tape, wrapping paper, and gift bags.
Get cleaning — Get yourself the best present ever and hire a team to clean your house before the family descends! If you’re DIY’ing it, catch up on all your dusting and laundry so you don’t have to worry about it, particularly with your mother-in-law roaming your house.
Set up the guest sleeping areas — Depending on space and who is sleeping where, set it up for their comfort. A few toiletry items, some hotel slippers—you can buy these at the dollar store—clean towels, and a bottle of water on the bedside table will go a long way. Make room in closets or dressers for clothes by storing some of your stuff in a storage bin for the duration. A nice touch? A framed reminder of what the WIFI password is!
Getting through holiday family visits is a lot about being ready for most every eventuality. Your own peace of mind can be achieved by making sure sure you have a few necessities. A last minute, late night trip to the drug store isn’t on anyone’s wish list!
- A high quality first aid kit, above and beyond the basic bandaids and antibiotic ointment.
- OTC products like ibuprofen, cough and cold medication, allergy medication and something to deal with heartburn or other ‘tummy’ issues.
Give yourself a gift of your favorite wine or after dinner drink: when everyone else has gone to bed, you can relax a little too! And if you’ve been a whirling frenzy of preparations before the holidays, plan to take a few days off afterwards if you can. It’s the perfect time to get a massage, hire a cleaning service and put your feet up with a good book!
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