Getting ready for the holidays can be fun, but it can also become stressful if you have too much on your mind.
Whether you plan to throw a family Christmas party, or just have the house become more festive for sporadic guests who tend to “pop in” to spread a little holiday cheer, there are some things you’ll want to consider when hosting for the holidays.
1. Look ahead and be prepared
If you are hosting the biggest holiday bash or waiting for friends and family to pop in, it’s best to get an idea of what to expect. For the more formal parties, make sure to create a guest list.
If you’re only expecting Aunt Peggy and Uncle Bob to make an appearance to your house, and maybe you heard that your long lost sister from the other side of the country is going to be in town, keep a running a list of all your “potentials”.
This will give you a running tally so you are more prepared. It’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepared.
2. Take inventory, buy items early, and stock up
Whether you are preparing for the entire family to come to the house or just a few people, begin buying the things you need early, especially specialty items. During the holiday season you’d be surprised how many people are looking for the same items you are. Get it early.
If you know many of your guests drink wine, order the bottles well in advance. There is no better feeling than knowing you have everything you need to enjoy the holidays before they actually happen. This includes buying your turkey early.
If you plan to do any cooking, make sure you have all the necessary pots and cutlery. Nothing worse than having to head to the store in the middle of the night so you can buy the proper size pan to cook that fancy dish.
3. Clear Clutter and Rearrange
Free up coat racks, closets, shoe racks, etc, so guests can have first dibs. It’s fine to keep your winter boots, a coat, hat, and scarf placed by the door but take all the extras that collected there over the past year to another closet. Last thing you want to do is be running around making room for guests to hang their winter stuff.
If you are planning a party, this will become even more important. You may need to designate an area to drape dozens of coats if it becomes a big group.
4. Prepare for seating
Of course this will be more important for hosting large numbers of guests, but even if you are expecting friends to occasionally pop-in, make sure there is enough seating that is comfortable.
Often times this is overlooked and it’s easy to make guests feel like they are intruding by making them stand while you shuffle clutter off the old sofa and shove everything in the back of a closet. If you are hosting a meal, make sure you have enough seats and eating spots.
5. Think safety
Lastly, think about safety issues. Again, hosting a large crowd can become a liability but it’s never a bad time to think about safety even if it’s just a few of you. For instance, keep cleaning products in the bathroom out of reach of children.
Keep glassware and fragile knickknacks safely pushed back from any edges and are away from harming anyone. It’s also pretty to show-off your festive candles but make sure they are situated in safe areas.
But most importantly, leave room to have fun!