The holidays are associated with peace and goodwill but they are often hectic and stressful—especially when you’re hosting family and friends. Like most things in life, being prepared saves a lot of grief in the long run. Here are some quick tips for smooth sailing over the holidays:
- Task and Relax: If you don’t want to be frazzled when your guests arrive, make a list of tasks at least a week before the holiday. Anything that can be done in advance, should be done. This includes making up the guest beds, putting out fresh towels, prepping your holiday outfit, and so on. Make to-do lists for your significant other and kids so everything’s not on your shoulders. Try to finish ALL of the jobs at least a few hours before the event so you can be calm and fresh when the party starts.
- Delete the Clutter: A messy house looks unclean even if the tables are dusted and the floors are swept. Before the guests arrive get rid of old magazines, put shoes and coats in the closets, get the kids to put their toys away, and remove extra knickknacks from shelves. Declutter the kitchen so you have plenty of work room when it’s time to cook.
- Round the Clock: Imagine you’re a guest walking into your house for the first time. What do you see? A messy coat closet? A dusty shelf full of DVDs and electronics. If you want to make a good first impression, stand at the entry and move clockwise around the house organizing and cleaning as you go. Everything to your left is now a clean zone.
- Scrub the Bathroom: Nothing says “clean” better than a shiny bathroom. Guests will undoubtedly be using the facilities—and likely snooping in the medicine cabinet. Get out the cream cleansers, spray cleaners, and toilet bowl cleaner and spruce up the bathroom so it sparkles for your guests.
- Prepare for Cooking: Chances are your meat thermometer, roasting pan, baster, and carving board haven’t been used in months. Your baking equipment likewise might be hidden away in the back of the kitchen cabinets. The day before the holiday, pull out all the cooking equipment you’ll need, make sure it’s still usable, and run it through the dishwasher to get rid of the accumulated dust.
- Don’t Forget the Table: You probably don’t set your dining room table for numerous guests on a regular basis. On the eve of the big day, dig out the napkins, tablecloth, candles, centerpiece, plates, flatware, and extra chairs.