Hosting for the Holidays in a Hurry
The holidays are upon us! If you’re planning on playing host this season, there’s a lot of pressure to impress. If you’re like me, this will inevitably turn into a mad scramble of cooking, cleaning, and preparing that stops only at the sound of the doorbell. No worries. Here are six quick, easy, and cheap tips to transform your home from humble abode, to warm and cozy sanctuary in a hurry.
Tip 1 – Small additions make a big difference
Bring the outdoors indoors! Collecting red, orange and yellow leaves, pine cones, and even spruce and pine branches will spice up your dining room table and mantle. Don’t forget about the front door. An autumnal wreath and door mat create a very festive entrance for your guests. Candles are great as well and perfect for low light situations. They make for great finishing touches in the living room and dining room. These are subtle and simple additions that can make a home feel warm and inviting during the fall and winter months.
Tip 2 – Get your lawn in order
Just because everything is dead, doesn’t mean it can’t look good. Greeting friends and family with an orderly yard makes a good first impression and starts the visit off on the right foot. Raking the leaves and giving the lawn one last mow will make your home stand out among the rest.
Tip 3 – Brief your guests
Surprises aren’t always welcome this time of year. Uncle Gary bringing stuffing when he was supposed to bring gravy is a real bummer. Luckily, this is an easily avoidable scenario. Make sure everyone is clear on what they’re bringing, never make assumptions. A few extra phone calls go a long way to relieve stress for you and preserve fun for the family.
Tip 4 – Test your recipes in advance
Cooking may be the most stressful part of hosting for the holidays. I subscribe to the old adage: if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. If you have a specialty holiday dish, now is no time for experimentation. If you’re trying something new, make it once or twice beforehand. If you’re on turkey duty, I’ve got one word for you… YouTube.
Tip 5 – Focus on the high traffic areas
So, the friends and family are on their way and the house is a mess. Unfortunately, life doesn’t stop for holiday preparation so what can you do to make your home presentable on the fly? Simple; focus on the areas everyone will see the most. Bedrooms, bathrooms, living room, dining room, kitchen. Does that sound like most of the house? It is. You should’ve started sooner, now prioritization and improvisation are key. First, remove all the clutter. If everything looks organized, you have something to build on. After that, you can race through with the dust rag and the 409. The kitchen’s going to get dirty anyways right?
Tip 6 – Have a game plan
Your work isn’t done once the guests arrive. Part of your job as host is also being entertainer. Easy enough! Have board games at the ready, or even break out some old photo albums to spark some reminiscing. Know what playlist you plan to use for dinner and have plenty of firewood ready to go. Ambiance is crucial and, if done right, is conducive to good conversation, storytelling, and fun! It’s even a good idea to have a few topical conversation starters in mind just in case things get quiet.
Good luck and Happy Holidays from WRI.