Tips to Get Your Home Ready for Holiday Entertaining
'Tis the season for entertaining! Be ready to welcome guests into your home with open arms and be prepared for stress-free holidays with these tips.
Start the Pre-Holiday Cleaning
Pre-holiday cleaning is important no matter how many holiday events you’re planning. You might have accumulated quite a bit of unnecessary stuff over the last 18 months – we get it. Now’s the time to take a moment at the start of the busy season to thoroughly clean and de-clutter your home. First, it’s a great way to enter the winter and new year. Second, it’ll mean less time spent cleaning in the days leading up to a big holiday event.
Get rid of clutter throughout the house, give your kitchen a deep clean, replace light bulbs, restock bathrooms, and make sure guest rooms are set up.
Deck the Halls
What would the holiday season be without decorations? Lavishly decorate your home before events to ensure guests feel festive, cozy, and welcomed. You can opt for holiday-specific décor (Christmas trees, Thanksgiving cornucopias, winter window clings) or classic decorations that are more seasonal. Put up lights indoors and out to give your entire home a cheery feeling.
And don’t forget your entryway! This is the first room that welcomes guests, so you want it to be carefully decorated. If you can, make sure there’s a bench available so guests can easily remove bulky boots or puffy winter coats. Be sure to add decorative lights here as well.
Upgrade Spaces to Mingle
Holiday parties rarely end once the meal is finished. Guests will want to linger and mingle, so make sure you have spaces set up to accommodate that. If your guest list surpasses your furniture limit, set up comfortable folding chairs. Additionally, people tend to gravitate toward the kitchen. If your kitchen isn’t set up to handle a full crowd, gently steer people toward your living areas by keeping beverages and snacks in these communal areas along with ample places to sit.
Prepare for Overnight Guests
If family holiday gatherings tend to bring people from all over to your home, prepare your guest room and other sleeping areas for overnight guests. Change the bedding, restock guest bathrooms, and leave out clean towels for the morning. These details will save you the hassle of scrambling to find more pillows the day of and allows guests to stow away overnight bags before the party.
Nail the Party Planning
Whether you’re the sole host or a co-host with helpers, planning ahead will make the day of the event run so much smoother – and allow you to actually enjoy it! Here’s how you can nail the party planning:
1. Send out invitations to your holiday events as early as possible. Make sure you request an RSVP so you can have an accurate headcount for meal planning. If you’re asking guests to bring food in a potluck style, make sure you include a sign-up sheet or request a specific dish. Otherwise, you could end up with a table full of pies and nothing else!
2. Plan the menu (and do all your shopping) well in advance. Avoid the last-minute grocery run for the critical ingredient in the main dish by preparing the food days before the event. Check and double-check your list to make sure you have everything you need to make the meal. If there are items you can make in advance and freeze – such as pies, casseroles, or breads – do that. Just make sure you remember to thaw those items the night before.
3. Set the decorations, dining area, and other details the night before. If you set the table in advance, that’s one less thing you’ll have to worry about as you’re checking the oven and making sure guests’ glasses are filled.
4. Meticulously plan out every food item if you’re cooking a full meal. If you’re cooking a full Holiday meal yourself, create a schedule for the entire day. Determine what time the turkey needs to go in the oven, when sides need to be started, what time each item goes in and out of the oven. Don’t leave anything to chance! It’s so easy to get distracted when you have a house full of people.
And there you go! Follow these tips, and you’ll be ready to host stand-out holiday events this year without added stress.