The holiday entertaining season can be a lot of fun, or it can stress you out to no end! We’ve got a plan and some great tips to get you organized so you can get ahead of the game and enjoy your time with friends and family this season.
The name of the game is work smarter not harder. The whole point is to spend time with your friends and family, not scurry around the whole time “doing” things. Plus you don’t want every time you invite friends over to be super stressful and overwhelming, you want to effortlessly have your shit together! Or at the very least, appear to!!
If you plan ahead, this is so doable. Even if you do half the things on this list below, you will be well ahead of the game for the season.
Clean your house for holiday entertaining
Most people associate spring with “spring cleaning”, but giving your house a thorough clean before holiday entertaining season is just as important. More for you than your guests. If you start off with a spotless house, its so much easier to keep it clean over the next few months and spruce it up if friends are coming over. This will make having last min guests way less stressful and even welcome.
- Give the floors, baseboards, bathrooms, bedrooms and the kitchen a good clean. Pay particular attention to the guest bathroom and bedroom and all the public areas of your house.
- The summer is dusty. Give the outside of your house a bath with a pressure washer or hire someone to come do it. Clean the windows outside and inside. Dust can accumulate and create a film on them all.
- Declutter. Put all your summer decor away and use this opportunity to get rid of things you don’t use or don’t need. Pack it up and give it to a second hand store or charity.
- Clean out your coat closet. Put away your summer jackets in storage so there is room for your guests jackets. If you don’t have a big enough coat closet, consider investing in a front door chair or something that your guests can drape their coats over.
TIP: hiring a cleaner is a great way to get this done. Its a bit of an added expense, but hiring someone to come in and give your house a good scrub makes your life so much easier and less stressful. It is well worth it! I have found that looking for recommendations from your friends on facebook is a great way to find a good cleaner.
Stock your guest bathroom
There is nothing worse than being a guest at someones house and running out of toilet paper! Don’t let that happen to your guests. Here is a quick list of items you might want to have stocked in your guest bathroom. These little extra touches make your guests feel special and make you a star host!
- toilet paper
- air freshener (try some poopouri! Its awesome and cute)
- nice smelling lotion
- nice soap
- hand towels
Arrange these items on a pretty tray, box or basket and your guest will have a spa like experience. You could even go the extra mile with some pretty pillar candles with holders and maybe even some flowers.
Prepare your guest bedroom for overnight guests
Holiday entertaining often includes wine or spiked eggnog. Keep your guest room spruced up in case one of your guests needs to stay over.
- Open the windows often and keep the air fresh
- Put fresh sheets on the bed – use the good ones
- Stock the room with some extra pillows
- Have a few towels available for your guests
- Keep an extra blanket on hand for extra cold nights
For a little extra touches:
- Keep a jug of water and a couple glasses by the bed
- Place a few books or magazines in the room
- If you are doing fresh flowers for your house, consider adding a small vase to the guest room too
Decor for holiday entertaining
There’s no need to go crazy on decor for the holidays. Keep things simple and understated. If you want to add some decor, go with things that create some warmth and ambiance like:
- Cute decorative pumpkins
- Fall flowers outside on the deck (mums are great in the fall)
- Chunky pillar candles with rustic holders
- String lights outside
- Hang a front door decoration to welcome your guests.
Clean out the pantry and fridge
You probably have some condiments in your fridge that need to get tossed. While your at it, give your fridge a good wipe down. Nobody likes cleaning fridges, but once it’s done, it feels great!
Go through your pantry items too. If you are like me, lots of things get pushed to the back and I forget that I have them. Going through everything once in a while means that I won’t go out and buy stuff that I already have!
Stock your pantry with entertaining staples
If you keep these items on hand, you will always have something to serve unexpected or short notice guests or if you don’t have time to go to the store.
- condiments like wine jelly or onion and fig jam that you can make ahead (or buy) and have on hand
- pickled veggies like beets, carrots, pickles (sweet and dill) and olives
- salsa and chips
- dried fruits
- puff pastry
- frozen cookie dough
- ice cream for dessert – just pour strong coffee and baileys over top!
Stock your bar
It would sure suck if friends popped by and you had nothing to serve them! Don’t let that happen. Keep a few bar items in stock and you will be good to go.
- basic spirits: vodka, rum, gin
- keep some holiday things stocked too like spiced rum and a carton of egg nog. We love this coconut egg nog that’s lighter and dairy free and soooo good!
- a couple different kinds of beer
- a few bottles of red and white wine
- get a couple of bags of ice for the freezer. Running out of ice is the WORST!
- keep some lemons and limes in your fridge
- make sure you have a stock of wine glasses, cocktail glasses and water glasses (anjou water glasses)
A few final tips for holiday entertaining:
- make a music playlist with a little of everything on it
- have a few cozy blankets on hand in case you entertain outside. Even in nice fall weather, the evenings can get chilly.
- choose candles with a fall scent to create warmth and a welcoming feel
- if you are planning to host a big party, get your invites out early. The holidays book up quick!
- if you like to do decorated tables, choose fall decor that you can reuse over and over
- blues and browns work really nice for fall
- tall pillar candles are beautiful and simple
- rustic candlesticks are also gorgeous and simple
And there you have it! Tackle each of these one by one and in no time they will be done and you will feel ready to invite your friends and family into your home for some holiday cheer.
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