Countdown to the Holidays: Ten Simple Home-fixes to get Holiday-Ready!
Doesn’t it seem like the holiday season descends upon us earlier and earlier each year? It’s crazy! November is only starting yet so many people are rushing about in a frenzy, getting ready for the holidays. No worries. Whether you’re hosting an intimate cocktail party or preparing for a big holiday bash, I’ve got you covered. Read my ten simple, home-fixes that are sure to help make your home holiday-ready and guest-friendly!
10. Take photos of your rooms.
This is the best way to begin and see what needs to be freshened up. When you’re in a room in your home constantly, it’s difficult to be objective. You may be shocked when you see photos of your rooms. They are not always how you pictured them… It’s as if you are seeing your rooms for the first time!
9. De-clutter. Less is always more!
Next, walk through the house and just start picking up. There’s always stuff to pick up. No one needs two snoopy pillows, a fuzzy snuggie, and an old college throw lying haphazardly on the couch. For a quick fix, get a great decorative basket and roll up those blankets nicely and place them in the basket. Put the pillows that don’t match away in a closet.
Then get out a big garbage bag… Prioritize by going straight to the problem areas first. If you are avoiding piles of junk, you need to force yourself to just throw away. You’ll find it to be therapeutic. Besides, nothing feels better than losing a little weight before the holidays!
Clean off that coffee table. It’s amazing what ends up gravitating to the coffee table – old papers, last week’s mail and random odds and ends. Purge it all -- clean sweep! Then look online for new, creative ways to decorate. I suggest you start with two pretty coffee table books, a large candle and maybe a small tray or box if you have room. Keep it clean and simple. If it is a special night, top your coffee table off with a small vase of fresh flowers.
8. Focus your efforts on high-traffic areas.
You’ll notice that your guests tend to spend most of their time in certain rooms of your house like the kitchen, living room, foyer etc. Concentrate your efforts on those rooms and spaces.
In the kitchen, hide the dog food in the cupboard, take all the knick-knacks off the windowsill, and put out some fresh winter herbs for a wonderful aroma. Add simple things like a new throw rug by the sink, a pretty cake stand on the counter, or some new patterned dishtowels to brighten up your kitchen.
Foyers or entranceways are what guests see first when they enter your home. Your foyer should be inviting yet uncluttered. Keep it interesting with an attractive mirror over a chest of drawers and some warm lighting. Ditch the old, stodgy lamp by replacing it with one more colorful. I like to see interesting objects layered in front of a picture. And of course, don’t forget to put the boots and sneakers away.
7. Don’t overlook your front yard and walkways.
You want your home to look amazing from the moment your guests pull up to your house. Your front yard should be raked, trimmed and clean.
Make sure your front walkway is well lit, as you will, most likely, be entertaining in the evening. Also, you can add a little outside cheer by placing fresh seasonal plants and flowers in terracotta pots on your stoop.
Keep outside holiday decorating as simple as possible. Most importantly, take it down when the holiday is over. Be a good neighbor and don't leave the holiday decoration up long enough to bleed into the next holiday.
6. Make your guest rooms hotel-ready!
If you are entertaining overnight guests, keep a fresh, clean stock of linens, towels, and pillows available. (My guest rooms are done the same as any other room in my house. I want my guests to feel comfortable and welcome.)
For a special touch, put fresh flowers, phone chargers, hand lotion and even a book in their rooms. Make them feel well taken care of!
5. Be sure you are up-to-date on your home maintenance.
There is nothing fun or sexy about changing light bulbs, replacing air filters or checking Carbon Monoxide batteries, yet it must get done for the health and safety of your family. Believe me, the last thing you want to deal with during the holidays is a breakdown or malfunction of your heating system. That money is so much better spent on festive throw pillows and holiday décor!
4. Add lighting and rugs for holiday sparkle!
New lamps are easy to find online and in any local home store while pretty votives and candles can add sparkle and ambiance to your home during the holidays. Although you may not have time to install new flooring, a new area rug in the family room or foyer will cozy-up your space. Even a fun flat weave or stripe runner by the sink can enhance your kitchen.
3. Spruce up your windows.
Beautiful window treatments can be transformative, however, they aren’t always easy to install. One option is to buy pre-made panels. Just make sure the panels you select are good quality. You don’t want to cut costs with cheap-looking panels. Another option is to call on a professional for help. If you are on a tight budget, ask to keep it simple, using linen-blends and decorative tape for edging. You’ll still get a crisp, finished look. When selecting hardware, use poles with rings. Rings are easiest to work with.
2. Don your home with seasonal blooms.
I love fresh flowers in the house! Try orchids on a hall table or mantel. Orchids are a good choice for those green-thumb-challenged as they last a long, long time! For additional holiday cheer, create your own arrangement of pinecones, pomegranates, and apples in a pretty ceramic bowl.
And for the last tip … drum roll please.
1. Stock up Your Bar and get ready to PARTY!
Getting my bar ready for family and friends during the holidays is always top of mind for me. Purchase cute holiday napkins, make sure glasses are clean, and stock your bar with wine, beer, cocktails, and mixers that your guests enjoy. Get fun straws or sweet tasting sugars for the rims of cocktail glasses. Just remember, as the host/hostess of a party, you are responsible for your guests. If they drink too much, always have the Uber app available to arrange a ride or insist that they stay overnight!
In all the chaos that goes on during the holiday season please take time to enjoy your family, friends and guests. Tell your best friend how much you love her, your husband how lucky you are to have him, and your children how they made your life better. It's what the season is supposed to be about - while you are frantically getting everything ready for everyone else, remember that what you're really doing is making memories. My wish is that those memories are all wonderful for all of you!
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I appreciate all your suggestions. From now until the Holidays, everything gets a bit crazy. Now I have a handy To Do List.
Thanks for the advice!