With Thanksgiving just short of a month away, it is the perfect time to start prepping your home for your guests’ arrival. Early planning with be key to banishing the stress involved with hosting holiday gatherings.
Although it is far too soon to purchase flowers or groceries, it’s not too early to make a check list of all the routine household fixes we tend to overlook in our everyday living. These repairs would include washing and filling or touching up scratches in paint on walls and trim, while dusting high surfaces and corners. Launder large item like rugs and window treatments, and spot clean carpet and upholstery so it looks fresh and stain free. Finally, I would choose some candid shots taken recently of the fam and print them out for framing. Scatter them about in areas your guests will be lingering to encourage fun conversation.
Now, with the interior squared away, take a peek at the exterior door area that your guests will be using. When we get home after a long days work, we tend to overlook cobwebs, chipped paint and burned out bulbs in a rush to get in the door and onto our next household task. Walk outside and really survey your entry. Make certain the door has a fresh coat of paint, the area is free of cobwebs or stray leaves, and it is well lit. While you are at it, put down a new door mat and a few pumpkins. Placing a large mum or two in a bright color will have them feeling the warm fuzzies before they even step foot inside the door! Now, create a space at the interior of the entry for coats, shoe storage and adornment. This may come in the form of a simple coat tree, a bench or chair, and several boot trays for wet shoes. If hosting a large crowd, try using a portable metal wardrobe in place of a simple coat tree. This will make your guests at ease knowing their belongings are easily accessible and well cared for instead of tossed on a bed in a heap of random coats. Many of us request that guests remove their shoes, as well, when entering. Having the boot trays visible will encourage this comfortably while corralling pesky snow drippings.
With those few simple touch ups complete well in advance, you will not only be ready on time, but more importantly, you will feel more prepared and feel far less anxiety as the event draws closer. Your next task will be to assess your furniture placement. Be sure that it encourages conversation and consists of several different vignettes, including those looking for more intimate discussions. Clear all of your everyday clutter from table tops and the floor. Too often, out of convenience, we tend to pile or stack up items we use daily. When entertaining visitors, however, these items visually take up floor space and make rooms feel less spacious.
Having the previously mentioned chores accomplished will allow you to spend the final two days prior to the holiday doing your routine cleaning like dusting, vacuuming and mopping. Put your toss pillows in a cool drier with a scented drier sheet to freshen them up. Put out extra drink coasters, as well as an accent table at each seat. If you will be using your fireplace, be sure to have it prepped for lighting and a stock pile of cut wood within reach and ready to go. The final step will be to purchase a plethora of fresh flowers. If you are unsure of arranging them, it’s best to use a monochromatic color scheme when purchasing them. Keep all of the flowers one color and gather a collection of opaque colored glass containers in varied heights and scatter them about.
If the thought of a formal sit down dinner stresses you out, arrange a DIY buffet instead. Use a kitchen island or a dining room side board to hold all the food and allow guests to serve themselves. This “Savvy Rule of Thumb” applies to the beverage selections as well. Every guest will feel much more comfortable being able to serve themselves a drink in lieu of interrupting your preparations. Set up a mini bar station on a small kitchen cart, desk or sofa table complete with ice bucket, glasses, spirits and wash. If “drinking on a budget”, use vintage glass decanters for your thrifty drink options and no one will be any wiser to the make or vintage.
With this no fail, stress free guide to entertaining this holiday season, I will be expecting an abundance of party invites in my inbox…stat! Now grab a paint brush and a can of spackle and get to your household repairs!