Having company for the holidays should be a joyous and happy occasion, yet all to often creates added stress for the hostess. Today I’d like to share a few tips to help you manage all the preparations without the overwhelm while making your guests feel comfortable and welcome.
- Start by making a list of all the things that need to be organized and arranged before company arrives for the holidays. Create a second list for your menu, from which you will then build your grocery lists. Non-perishable foods can be purchased in advance, leaving only a small list of fresh produce for the day before the party.
- Divide your to-do list into tasks that can be done well ahead of time and start chipping away slowly weeks prior to the party to keep from feeling overwhelmed.
- Guest rooms often become the dumping ground for excess clutter in the home. If you are hosting overnight guests make sure to de-clutter and tidy up the space now, getting everything set up and ready.
- If you don’t have a separate guest room and usually use your child’s bedroom for company, take this opportunity to clear out the space. Remove all surface clutter if possible; you could utilize under-bed storage for seldom used items or remove bulky toys temporarily to give your guests a relaxing environment. De-clutter the closet and leave a small space for hanging clothes. (Don’t forget to provide appropriately sized hangers for adults).
- Bathrooms are another area that may need a little attention when having overnight guests. Assess the condition of your guest towels and straighten up under the sink if needed. You may want to have your children share your bathroom during the visit to give your guests some privacy and to keep kids clutter off the bath counters.
- Depending on the degree of clutter in your home, start organizing your main living spaces with plenty of time to spare. Take 15-30 minutes every few days to tackle another area. Hall closets should be attended to as well – will you have enough space for your guest’s coats? Matching (wooden) hangers add another nice touch; this goes for any closet in the home.
- Start cleaning a few days before the party and address any surface clutter on counters, cabinets and tables. Remove any toys, paper clutter or other items that don’t belong in your kitchen or living spaces. Avoid just placing items “temporarily” in a basket or tote to deal with later – this is how cluttered spaces usually get started. Take the time to put items where they belong!
- Set the dining table the day or evening before you entertain and do all prep work that can be done ahead of time to cut down on the workload on the day of the party.
- To add a little warmth and a special touch, I love to add fresh flowers throughout the home – especially in the guest room.
Being well-organized will help ease some of the stress and anxiety that the holiday season tends to create when entertaining. By starting early and working on your list slowly, you will be able to enjoy your company, as well as the holidays.