- Guests will be dropping by
- Entertaining can reach extraordinary levels
- The kids will be out of school
- Unpredictable weather
- Marathon shopping
Stress-free decoratingDon’t get caught up in competition with decorating divas if that’s not your thing. Decorations are supposed to add to the festivities, not generate more holiday stress, so stay off Pinterest and decorate to reflect who you are and how you want your home to look.
- Don’t be Superwoman. If life events like illness, a new baby, a new job, or a move cramp your style, do what you can and enjoy guilt-free, scaled-back holiday decorations this year.
- Plan for decorations that can transition from one holiday to the next. Interchangeable decorations include candles, garlands, strings of lights, table runners, pumpkins, pinecones, snowflakes, and holly.
- Generic fall decorations can customize for Halloween and Thanksgiving, swapping out Jack-o-lanterns and black cats for pilgrims and pumpkins. A winter wonderland of white can become Christmas, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, or New Year’s by adding holiday-specific elements.
- Enlist help from family members and don’t expect perfection from everyone, just enjoy the happy result.
- Give bored kids the fun task of making decorations, try 30 Elevated DIY Christmas Decorations That’ll Save Your Bank Account.
Holiday foods to loveIt’s not actual holiday law that you turn yourself inside out trying new and complicated recipes. Whether you live to cook or just cook to live, before the additional demands of holiday entertaining set in, make sure your kitchen and pantry are user-friendly to make all your holiday baking and cooking easier.
- Plan on serving your family’s holiday favorites and maybe spice things up with just one or two new treats.
- Assemble all the recipes you’ll be using and make sure you have all the ingredients you need, including spices, specialty pans, serving dishes, cookie cutters, tools and toppings.
- Serving untested and untried recipes to guests will kick your stress level way up, so stick with your never-fail signature dishes. It’s what they’re counting on.
- Make a schedule and prepare whatever you can ahead of time and freeze, like vegetable stock for gravy or sugar cookies to decorate later.
- Order specialty items well in advance, like wine or champagne, Honey Baked Ham, gourmet free-range goose, or imported truffles for your grandma’s dressing recipe. Preserve every drop of champagne with a Fizz Keeper Champagne Stopper.
- Consider serving buffet-style instead of sit-down for a large crowd, including a self-service beverage bar.
Consider the coming weather challengesWinter rolls around every year so there shouldn’t be surprises. Whatever your area of the country brings—snow, rain, sleet, hail, mud, storms—take steps now to curtail problems. Movies and sitcoms may be entertaining with catastrophes popping up but, in real life, being prepared for anything is a good feeling, especially with a houseful of people.
- Clean out wood-burning chimneys to make sure they are clean and safe with no creosote buildup or nesting creatures.
- Have gas fireplaces checked for leaks or chemical buildup and the gas lines cleaned.
- Service your home’s heating/air unit and replace filters so it’s in good working order.
- Stock up on firewood, candles, and other emergency items. (BePrepared.com)
- Have sand or deicing products ready for that first snowfall.
- Place non-slip rugs by entry doors, inside and out, to absorb rain and snow and prevent falls.
- Install additional outside lights for safety, electric or solar-powered, to illuminate dark walkways, entry doors, patios, or other outside areas.
Banish embarrassing clutter hot spotsEvery home has certain areas where clutter just seems to breed. Identify those spots and implement changes to get the space under control before your overnight company starts arriving so there won’t be any off-limits or embarrassing areas.
- An organized entryway or mudroom with sufficient hanging and storage space will facilitate comings and goings for family and guests. A custom entryway design with enclosed cabinets, shelves, drawers, hooks, and a bench can turn your entryway into a beautiful, clutter-free space.
- If the family room looks like a frat house half the time, an entertainment center with cabinets, shelves, and drawers can quickly hide and organize everything in the room from toys to electronics. Storage ottomans for blankets, pillows, and throws keep comfort close at hand without adding clutter.
- Closet confusion and the ensuing messy bedrooms can be banished with closet organization systems geared to each user, personalized for child or adult, for walk-in, reach-in or shared closets to maintain clothes, shoes, and accessories in perfect order.
- Do a full assessment of your pantry and discard everything you don’t need, including foodstuffs, appliances, linens, and cleaning products. With a neat, orderly pantry you won’t be embarrassed if your mother-in-law sticks her head in for a quick peek or offers to help with dinner.
- An organized laundry room won’t have to be hidden from visitors’ eyes and will make doing the laundry easier all year long. Cabinets for supplies, countertops, hampers, and hanging space will ensure that your laundry space is guest-ready all the time.
- A messy garage can be eliminated with garage storage cabinets and wall-hanging storage that will get everything off the floor, transforming the garage into highly functional space. You can send Uncle Ted out for extra firewood without the worry about what he’ll see or possibly trip over.