Christmas is well underway and that means the holiday season is just around the corner. For many, this means attending or hosting dinners, parties, and get-togethers with friends and loved ones. Unfortunately, it can also mean stress and anxiety and feeling rushed or burdened. Don’t let the hustle and bustle get the best of you. If you start preparing now, you won’t have to hurry and leave things half-done or done sloppily. Make a plan, pour a glass of juice, and use this checklist to help keep you on track and ahead of the game.
1. Clear out the clutter
Take a look around your home. If it’s filled with piles of newspaper, kids’ toys, and abandoned clothes or blankets, then it’s time to clear it out. Don’t just stuff it in a closet though; think about some permanent, functional storage solutions to help prevent the clutter from coming back in a few days.
A pretty basket or two can store and organize the newspapers or other paper clutter. A plastic tote makes a sturdy place for any of the kids’ items that need to stay accessible. Utilize anything you have on ground to help you organize your clutter hot spots.
2. Dive into a deep clean
Once your surfaces and entryways get decluttered, it’s time to fight the grime. Take this opportunity to tackle any area of your home that usually gets neglected when you clean the house: door frames, window sills, behind doors, stairwells, etc.
Make the most of these few weeks before the holidays to ensure that your entire home is fresh and ready to receive guests. Muck out that extra bedroom and change the linens on the bed, dust the ceiling fans, even wash the curtains if they’re looking somewhat crusty.
3. Take care of minor repairs
Since you’ve been into every room of your house and wiping everything down, perhaps you’ve noticed (or remembered) a few areas that require some fixing. Maybe it’s a leaky tap, or chipped paint, or a loose cabinet door. Don’t leave these projects undone any longer. Get out the toolbox or hire a handyman and get it off your mind.
4. Refresh your old décor
Once your house is clean and in order, the fun can begin. If your décor is looking dated, then it’s time to freshen it up and bring it into this decade (or century). Doing so doesn’t require a lot of money or time; simple changes can make a significant impact if you know where to start.
A new area rug or modern curtains is an excellent choice for a fast solution. A coat of paint on an old mirror or picture frame can make it look high-end and classy. You can also switch the furniture or change their positions just to give your home a new look.
5. Mix in seasonal pieces
To bring the atmosphere in your home up a notch, add a few seasonal accents into your décor. A few small gourds and candles on the dining table, a cute “Hello Christmas” letterboard sign on the mantel or even a grapevine wreath with an autumn-colored bow can work wonders.
Of course, all this will change after the holiday. When you dig out the Christmas decorations, think beyond the tree and the lights outside. Wreaths, handmade paper snowflakes or a row of pretty ornaments hanging in a window are all great and simple ideas.
6. Tweak furniture placement for maximum flow
When you walk through your home, do you find yourself bumping into a lot of things or having to make a lot of twists and turns to go around the furniture? If so, it’s best to fix that before filling your home with people. Don’t attempt to rearrange an entire room; just focus on the pieces of furniture that seem to be in the way or stick out too far. If necessary, move them to another room or even store them for the next several weeks; you can always bring them back when the holidays are over.
7. Don’t neglect the outside of your home
The front of your home makes the first, and biggest, impression on your guests. Include this area when cleaning, repairing, and decorating. Hang a seasonal wreath on the front door. Make sure the steps, porch or walkways are clear of mud, leaves or debris, and trim back any branches or overgrown foliage that snag arms or legs as you walk by them.
Other budget-friendly and straightforward ideas to upgrade the front of your house include setting a couple of flower pots on your steps, adding a pretty throw over the back of any bench or chairs you may have outside, and DIY-ing your welcome sign to place beside the door. A cute Christmas foot mat wouldn’t be a bad idea as well.
8. Make a list of groceries you’ll need
If you’re hosting a get-together or a staycation, you’ll need to plan on feeding people, even if it’s just simple snacks or baked goodies and drinks. Plan your menu now, make a list, and stick it on the fridge until you need it. Doing this as early as possible helps cut down on the panic of deciding what to serve and keeps you organized.
9. Set your table ahead of time
Holiday dinners or even parties are often centered around the dining table much of the time. It makes sense to set a beautiful table your guests will enjoy, but it can also be stressful. Don’t worry about whether your dishes are fancy enough; use what you have and add in décor to complement it.
For instance, a couple of candles in the center set on a pretty doily or silk scarf, with a few small gourds or Christmas ornaments, will work nicely. There’s no need to spend extra money on seasonal flowers for the table or stress about not having fancy flatware or serving dishes. If you have those things, great! If you don’t, work with what you have and set it up in advance so you’ll be free to take care of other things.
10. Don’t forget the drinks
At this time of year, a lot of hostesses realize that they completely forgot to plan for drinks. While it’s not the end of the world when this happens, it can be frustrating and embarrassing. Don’t let this happen to you; decide now what beverages you’ll serve and add them to your grocery list.
Preparing your home for a big gathering can be incredibly overwhelming, especially if this is your first time hosting. Don’t allow stress and worry over it all to keep you from enjoying this holiday season with your loved ones. Make time to unwind between preparations; schedule it if you have to. Slip into a hot bath or a shower or take a quiet walk to enjoy the season’s beauty. Relax. You’ve got this.
The holidays don’t have to be chaotic. If you prepare early and stick to a plan, everything will turn out just fine, and your guests will leave your home feeling happy and content. A hostess can’t do better than that.
For me, this is an opportunity to get a few things done at home. Look at it this way; after the guests leave, you still get to enjoy the little improvements and changes in and around your house.
What do you think about this list? Which of the steps do you often carry out as you prepare for the holidays and which would you rather leave out? Please leave your comments below and don’t forget to share this post with family and friends.