At Christmas, all roads lead home. – Marjorie Holmes
Maybe you’re not planning on having a Christmas party, holiday gathering or a New Year’s Open House but it seems that the festivities of the holiday season naturally brings more visitors to your front door.
Especially if you’re in a custom new home this year, relatives, neighbors and friends will want to stop by to visit and admire your beautiful new home! Maybe this is the first year you have room for out of town guests? Is your home ready for the holiday season?
1. Take care that your home entryway is brightly lit and clear of leaves, ice, snow or any other debris. If you don’t have motion detector lights consider adding them to light up a dark garage, sidewalk or side entrance. A wreath on the door and a new holiday welcome mat are easy ways to decorate the front entrance.
2. De-clutter countertops, coffee tables, ottomans and any of your places that seem to get overwhelmed with stuff. Since the end of the year is a great time to donate good useable items to your favorite local charity take some time to clean out your unworn clothes and coat closet too!
3. Keep the pantry, fridge and freezer stocked with easy appetizers. Unexpected guests don’t expect meals but an impromptu antipasti platter or a small tray of hors d’oeuvres is always welcome. Easy pantry and fridge staples including: imported olives, marinated artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, spreadable cheeses, cured meats and fresh cut vegetables can be assembled quickly so that you can spend more time catching up with your friends and neighbors.
4. Prepare for a holiday toast. The holidays are a good time to take advantage of case prices of wine, beer and champagne but non-alcoholic beverages are always welcome especially for guests that aren’t staying over. A simple preparation of Hot Spiced Apple Cider kept warm in a crockpot has your home smelling like the holidays!
5. Simplify your holiday decorating. Enhance your living space with your favorite holiday decorations but don’t forget rooms your guests will have access to. Powder rooms and guest rooms can be simply decorated with natural elements. Paper whites, poinsettias, pinecones, fresh greenery, and candles can add beauty and a holiday atmosphere without breaking your Christmas budget.
6. Create comfy conversation areas in your living room, kitchen or any place most of your guests seem to migrate. A room with pillows, throws and a lit fireplace always feels more welcoming. If you do expect a large number of guests purchase or borrow several small wooden tray tables that can be easily accessed to hold drinks, snacks, and small plates of food. A card table draped with a holiday tablecloth can hold small tins of homemade cookies, hostess gifts, and Christmas cards. Gather some Christmas movies, coloring books and small toys to keep the children entertained while the adults are visiting.
7. Freshen up guest rooms. If it’s been awhile since your home had an overnight guest, rewash the bedding and empty drawers and the guest room of any clutter that crept in during the year. It’s a good idea to check that light bulbs are working and that the guest bathroom has adequate supplies. A handmade “guest basket” filled with snacks, treats and hotel sized toiletries that you know your guests would appreciate is always a nice touch.
8. Purchase some extra gift cards, small boxes of chocolates and/or holiday themed teas and coffees and keep them on hand. Having hostess gifts available stops those last minute runs to the grocery store or drugstore saving time and money.
9. Take inventory of your glassware and tableware. Glassware sets are often on sale before the holidays. Gift yourself one if you are worried you could run out. Stock up on paper goods or any item that you seem to run out of during the holiday rush.
10. Breathe. While it may be difficult for you to relax too much during the busy holiday season try to take at least 20 minutes every day to simply reflect and enjoy the beauty and message of the season. You can have a stress-free holiday season if you concentrate on spending quality time with loved ones. Sometimes that means saying no to some events and yes to the ones that mean the most to you and your family.
Most people won’t notice that you served wine in a coffee cup because you ran out of wine glasses but they will remember if they felt loved and welcome in your home. As Dr. Seuss wisely wrote in How the Grinch Stole Christmas,
“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?”
How do you get your home ready for the holidays and out of town guests?