The winter holidays can be a lot of fun. We get to relax, take time off of work, go shopping, visit with friends, and show our appreciation for others through giving gifts and spending time with loved ones. However all of these magical moments cannot happen without hard work and some proper planning. Having a holiday strategy, especially if you are planning to host any of the activities at your house, can save a ton of stress, headaches, and unfortunate mishaps. That is why we’ve put together this handy set of tips for preparing your home for guests for the holidays:
1. Clean out the fridge ahead of time
There is a lot of food preparation that goes on during the holidays. You are going to need a lot of room in the fridge to store all the lovely goodies you plan on preparing for your next party. So take the time before you go shopping to clear out any old food or drinks that you don’t want to start the new year with.
2. Make those bathrooms shine
Let’s face it, we all love a clean, sparkly bathroom wherever we go. If you have been too busy to clean that bathroom, now is the time. Turn up the music, put on some plastic gloves, and scour that place clean. Windex is especially useful for removing bad odors from bathrooms – it’s not just for the mirrors. Try it on toilets, floors, sinks and anywhere else that might need an extra sparkle. When your bathroom is spotless, put out some fun holiday-themed hand towels, special scented pump lotions, and organic floral soaps. Your guests will be really impressed.
3. Stock up on ice
It might be chilly outside, but that doesn’t stop us from enjoying drinks on the rock. The last thing you want to happen during a party is to run out of ice. Buy plenty of bags of ice beforehand, and assign someone in your house to refill the ice buckets once they start to get low. Ice buckets are also a great way to keep cold drinks chilled while out of the refrigerator. This will limit trips to the fridge.
4. Plan your ideal scenario
Think of who is coming and plan your ideal scenario. Are you hosting mainly family members, a more mature crowd, or a group of 20-somethings? Will there be children? Will there be a mix of different ages and backgrounds? Do you want a loud, fun party with lots of music and dancing, or do you want a party where conversation flows? Do you want to have activities going on, or do you just let guests mingle and be spontaneous? If you plan the mood and the activities for the party beforehand, you can more easily make it happen.
5. Consider the more difficult guests
We don’t always get a choice about who comes to our parties, even if we are the host. We might cringe when Aunt Sally shows up with her new beau who loves a bit too much of the sparkly. Or maybe your friend’s teenage daughters have all become meat, gluten, and sugar intolerant just like all of their friends did last week. Don’t forget Grandpa who can be a bit loud at times and voices his political opinions to anyone who will listen. Rather than feel anxious, think of ways you can handle difficult situations beforehand. Remove alcohol from the menu if it is too much of a temptation for a guest and replace it with something sweet and delicious instead. For picky eaters, think of something really easy you can offer them, hummus and rice crackers, for example. Place the loud and more opinionated people in a comfortable spot where they can talk the evening away, and set up a retreat room or backdoor area where guests can have a quiet break.
6. Make a garbage removal system
Do a quick sweep of the house and remove any used garbage bags before the party. Add some replacement liners at the bottom and put a fresh one in each garbage can. Bring some extra garbage cans to visible places where people can throw away their food during the party. If guests will be using regular dishes, have a plastic bin available where they can place their used dishes and drinking ware when they are done. Ask a member of the household to be in charge of keeping the trash cans from overflowing during the party by periodically taking out the trash.
7. Minimize clutter
By the time the holidays have come around, we might have a lot of unsorted items lying around, especially if you have been busy the rest of the year with work and family time. With everything going on, the holidays may not be the best time to read that organizational book you’ve heard so much about. You just won’t have the time or the mental energy. Instead, save your best laid plans for organizing the house for after the holidays. Instead, find some empty spaces where you can gather and store the clutter. Put it away in a closet, under the bed, or in a cellar where it can wait for after the holidays to be dealt with. Removing the clutter will make it much easier to clean.
8. Save the hassle and hire professional cleaners
Right before a big event, hire a professional house cleaning company to make your home look spotless. Then you can focus on other, more important details like shopping, putting together that slideshow from your childhood photos, making crafts with your children, or doing some last minute decorating or baking.
Whatever you do, remember to have fun, enjoy the little moments, and remember what the holidays mean. Whether you have a large gathering of friends or a small family gathering, remember it’s the good and the not so perfect times that make up life, and whatever happens, there is a new year to look forward to and with it, a sense of hope. Have a happy holiday season and bon appetit!