For most of us, the holidays include gatherings of friends and family. If it’s your turn to host this year, don’t panic! Putting together a to-do list today and working on it every day from now until when your first guests arrive will get your home ready for the holidays. Here are some ideas of ways to get ready.
Mobilize the Entire Family
Your entire family is hosting, not just you, so get everyone together and get their buy-in on helping get the house ready. Come up with lists of cleaning, decluttering and prepping tasks for each family member and turn them loose.
Prepare the house
Clear Clutter — Stacks of books, papers, toys — both human and animal — and other clutter lying around to trip over or look bad can be moved to an unused room or the basement or stored in a closet. If you use the holiday motivation to purge the stacks of paper and clutter that seems to grow on their own, you’ll give yourself a holiday gift that lasts all year.
Deep Clean — Deep cleaning is what most people dread about having visitors. But, a little planning and division of labor can make it less horrible. Make a weekend before guest arrival a cleaning weekend — literally put it on the calendar — to ask everyone to pitch in to get the carpets vacuumed, bathrooms cleaned, kitchen cleaned and organized, the refrigerator, oven and dishwasher cleaned, shelves organized, the windows washed and more. Even if you don’t get it all done, you’ll make a major dent in the big cleaning chores.
For some families, hiring a cleaning service is a wise investment in minimizing stress in their role as host family. Just don’t get your home cleaned too early! Otherwise your family will have time to undo the deep clean.
Freshen Up with Fresh Paint —Paint is relatively inexpensive and one of the easiest DIY home improvement projects. If you’ve wanted to paint but have been procrastinating, having visitors coming might be what you need to finally get going. If you paint before the visitors come, you’ll get the extra reward of having them appreciate your effort.
SEE ALSO: 5 HOME IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS FOR WINTER MONTHS
Create a Great First Impression with Your Entryway — Most of our focus for hosting is on the interior of the house, but don’t neglect the first impression: your entryway. Give some time and attention to the landscaping, walkway and steps leading to your front door. Sweep and wash, prune, decorate and be sure to clean your front door. For maximum impact, this might be the year for a new front door. Today’s entry doors can provide beauty, energy efficiency and security all in one package.
SEE ALSO: GETTING A HANDLE ON ENTRY DOOR COSTS
Make Room in Your Coat Closet — Most front closets quickly become a tomb for unused coats, stuffed full of jackets of all shapes and descriptions that haven’t been worn in years. Take 20 minutes to pull out all the old coats and store them elsewhere (or donate them) to create room and open hangers for your guest’s outerwear.
Prepare for overnight guests
Storage for Long-Term Guests — For many guests, it’s a pleasant surprise when they’re not forced to live out of their suitcases. For longer stays, offer guests the use of some empty shelves, dressers, closets and cupboards.
Create Your Own Hotel Room — Make sure your guest room includes nice extra touches like lotions, candles, perhaps a robe and slippers maybe even a supply of towels nicely folded for them to take to the shower. It’s a low-cost, easy way to communicate that you’re glad your guests are there.
Think about Sound and Smell — Having a wide variety of holiday music available for playing in the background can be a nice touch for gatherings. Use air fresheners or scented candles to give your house a pleasing aroma that enhances the atmosphere.
Stock Up on Household Supplies and Essentials — Make sure you have ample supplies of household basics like toilet paper and facial tissue, plus plenty of clean towels, sheets, pillows and pillowcases, etc. Keep your guest bathroom fully stocked with soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and the like.
Increase Seating — More people means more seating, both at the dinner table and in the living and family rooms. Bring in a few extra pieces like wooden benches, ottomans or folding chairs with padded seats to make your house more guest friendly.
Lay in Snack Supplies — Don’t just think candy and pre-made treats. Get some cookie dough or other easy things you can bake (perhaps with the help of grandchildren!) to create a fantastic fragrance that enhances the event. Be sure to have some low-calorie, low-carb snacks on hand like raw vegetables, nuts, meats and cheese sticks, etc. Also, be mindful of any food allergies or preferences (vegetarian, vegan, glutton-free) your guests may have. If you plan on offering alcoholic beverages, have a robust offering of non-alcohol beverages as well so non-drinkers don’t feel overlooked.
Child-proof for Their Protection and Yours— If your guest list will include small children, make sure any pointy, hot, or otherwise dangerous items are out of their reach. Likewise, make sure all your irreplaceable and expensive decorative objects are safe from small hands. It’s not fair to expect parents to monitor their children 24/7 just so you can have your aunt’s heirloom vase on the coffee table. It will look just as good on a high shelf.
Make Sure Everyone is Presentable — While you shouldn’t go so far as to create a scene worthy of those scrubbed-pink, everyone-in-uncomfortable-clothes family pictures, at least make sure everyone has something decent to wear when people come over. The favorite, ratty sports team T-shirts can wait until the guests have gone. Don’t overlook your pets! Pet owners can get used to beloved Fido’s unique odor, so give him a bath before the guests arrive just to be on the safe side. Likewise, make sure kitty’s litter box is chunk free.
Don’t Overstress! — Friends and family are coming to your home to see you, not to judge your décor. Keep that in mind as you do your best to make your house presentable. The goal is neat and tidy with thoughtful touches, not achieving operating-room-level sterility or creating a show home that doesn’t look lived in.