Many of us enjoy making our home look and feel welcoming for our guests during the holidays. And we inevitably have grand visions of everything being just perfect. Although that is a great goal, the reality is that with busy lives and active families, there is only so much we can do. Here are a few tips to help you create a pleasant holiday environment that you can enjoy too!
Have a Plan
It’s great to have a vision of your objective (a Winter Wonderland, perhaps), but vision meets reality with a well thought out plan. Think ahead about the details you want to include, and create a list so you don’t forget that great idea!
Enlist Some Help
With a vision, a plan and a checklist, get everyone in the family involved. Make it fun with small rewards for completing tasks. The secret may be in the old proverb, ‘Many hands make light work.’ Anyone can contribute a little, and all will share in the joy of the end result.
Before you can pull out all the decorations, there have to be places for them. Evaluate each room according to your vision, and move and/or rearrange items to create the space you need. Store items in the attic, garage, or shed. This is also an excellent opportunity to sell or donate items you no longer need or that no longer match your style.
Tackle Big Projects Later
If a toilet is on the fritz, you'll want to repair that first. But kitchen cabinet restoration and/or bathroom renovation can probably wait. If Grandma’s Room (a.k.a. the guestroom) needs a coat of paint, be sure to get it done early to prevent that "fresh paint" smell.
Clean It Up
All the moving and rearranging is likely to stir up some dust. It’s a great opportunity to vacuum and wash under and around furniture that doesn't get moved very often. If you’re getting carpets cleaned, do it in advance so they are completely dry before guests arrive.
Many of us don’t have spare rooms which often means that someone has to give up their bedroom for guests to move into. Clear clutter out of guest rooms to create a tidy, comfortable space for them. Keep fresh towels, washcloths, and personal items (i.e., extra toothbrushes and toothpaste, soap, lotion, etc.) handy for guests. Fresh sheets are a great touch!
Decorate Your Way
It’s fine to want to impress, but even better to allow your own taste to shine through. Tasteful and traditional decorations create a warm, welcoming atmosphere. Think safety first! Check lights for proper operation and keep cords out of the way so nobody trips over them. Use caution when placing space heaters for guests’ comfort. And finally, take time to test and replace old batteries in smoke detectors.
Remember: your guests are there to see you and your family first. Keep your holiday preparations realistic and as simple as possible for a welcoming home and a family that is not exhausted and stressed from the preparations! That way all will enjoy the holiday visits and entertaining the way it’s meant to be -- together.