Hosting friends and family for the holidays should be a joyous and happy occasion. Sadly, however, it can often lead to stress, especially for the hostess.
Today I’d like to share a few tips, to help you manage the preparations, without the overwhelm, while making your guests feel comfortable and welcome.
Start by making a list of all the things that you need to organize and arrange before your guests arrive. Create a second list for your menu, from which you will then build your grocery lists. Purchase non-perishable food in advance, leaving only a small list of fresh produce for the day before the party.
Divide your to-do list into tasks that you can accomplish well ahead of time, and start away slowly, a week or two before 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 about 15 minutes a day, to tackle a different area of the home. Hall closets should be looked at as well – will you have enough space for your guest’s coats? Matching (wooden) hangers add a nice touch.
Start your general 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, or create a new home, if the items doesn't have one.
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.
Last, and most importantly - Ask For Help from your family, there is no reason for you to shoulder all of the burden yourself!
Being well-organized will help ease some of the stress and anxiety, that the holiday season tends to bring. By working breaking down your list slowly, you will be able to enjoy your company, as well as the holidays.