Make a List and Check it at Least Twice to Help Prepare for Holiday Houseguests
By Guest Contributor Brad Little
Hosting houseguests for the holidays can be hectic to say the least. Houseguests can create undue stress during the busiest time of year. But there are some things you can do in advance to help get a head start on your holiday task list so you can enjoy time with your friends and family while they’re in your home for the holidays.
Image courtesy of Colleen Steixner http://www.houzz.com/photos/404270/Rehabbed-1870s-Victorian-traditional-exterior-philadelphia
If you’re preparing for overnight guests in your home. . .
You've got your work cut out for you, but you can pull it off with the help of some holiday magic. Put your little elves to work baking cookies and cleaning the house, and work on these five things in advance of your guests’ arrival.
1. Hang holiday décor. This one may require a separate checklist, depending on how far out your household goes when it comes to holiday décor. Trees, wreaths, lights, arrangements, and other decorations are best accomplished first because they add festivity to the air, plus you can enjoy them longer.
Image courtesy of Meg Spaeth and Elsie Marley http://www.houzz.com/photos/388405/Holiday-Decor-2011--
2. Make up the beds and baths. Deep clean your guest rooms and baths and put fresh linens on the beds and new bars of soap in the showers. The day before guests arrive you can do a light cleaning and add fresh towels. Voila!
Image courtesy of Case Remodeling Charlotte http://charlotte.caseremodeling.com/bathroom-remodeling/
3. Declutter the house. You may have to check this item off before you prepare your guest rooms, if they’re a place where you hastily store miscellaneous household items, as is common practice in many homes. Whether your clutter collects in unused rooms or simply anywhere there’s room, this is another task that’s better accomplished sooner than later to help make room for the holiday madness.
Image courtesy of Case Design/Remodeling Inc. http://www.houzz.com/photos/89365/Case-Design-Remodeling--Inc--traditional-bedroom-dc-metro
4. Create a meal plan. The most difficult part of houseguests for many holiday hosts is feeding everyone three meals a day plus snacks. You need a meal plan not only for a holiday dinner, but also for each day and each meal you’ll be serving your guests. Try to order takeout or go out to eat with your houseguests at least once while they’re in town, to give yourself a well-earned break.
5. Buy and wrap guest gifts. Perhaps you plan to do some last-minute holiday shopping with your guests while they’re in town, something nearly everyone needs to do. Make sure you buy and wrap gifts for house guests in advance, if you want to keep things a surprise.
Image courtesy of French Flair Interior Design http://www.houzz.com/photos/448622/Frenchflair-traditional-family-room-vancouver
If you’re hosting a holiday dinner. . .
Timing is everything. You’ll need help from little elves for this one as the meal comes together at the last minute. A word of advice: let your houseguests help you. It’s physically impossible to cook, heat, and serve dozens of dishes to twice as many people, so don’t even try to go it alone. As the clock ticks down, let extra hands take on odd jobs to help expedite the meal. Follow these tips to help minimize last minute hassles. For additional ideas, check out this Charlotte Case Remodeling blog checklist 25 tips to prepare your home for the holidays
1. Set your holiday table now. The holiday dinner table takes time and should be prepared in advance. Prepare your centerpiece first. Polish silver and wine glasses ahead of time. Run stored china through the dishwasher and return to the china cabinet. Try integrating your place settings into your holiday table décor.
Image courtesy of Michelle Edwards http://www.houzz.com/photos/94420/Christmas-Around-the-House-traditional-dining-room-kansas-city
2. Plan the menu and assign dishes. Plan your menu and make a list of ingredients that you can stock up on now. If your holiday dinner is pot-luck style, have guests sign up for the dishes they want to bring so you don’t end up with three green bean casseroles. If you’re preparing the main course, order your meat in advance from your local market.
3. Create a cooking calendar. If you’re cooking a main course and several side dishes for the holiday meal, you’ll need to spread the work out over the course of one or more days. Make a list of the items you will cook in the order that you’ll cook them. Then assign each dish a day and time when you’ll prepare it. Write down a way to store and reheat the dish if you have to make it more than a few hours before the holiday meal.
4. Clean out the fridge. Dig back there and remove any wayward leftovers or items past the expiration date. You’re going to need all the room you can get. You may be able to store some items on ice inside coolers in a garage or mudroom if you run out of room in your fridge.
Image courtesy of Case Remodeling - Charlotte http://charlotte.caseremodeling.com/kitchen-remodeling/
5. Recruit elves. If you have children in the house, put them to work before the dinner, setting the table and carrying dishes and other items from the kitchen to the table. If the kids will be eating at a separate table, have them set and decorate their own table as a pre-dinner activity by giving them arts and crafts supplies for creating holiday placeholders and centerpieces.
Image courtesy of the Atherton House Holiday Tour http://www.houzz.com/photos/36509/Atherton-Holiday-House-Tour-traditional-dining-room-san-francisco
Author Bio: Brad Little, owner of Case Design/Remodeling of Charlotte NC, writes about redesigning homes and interior decorating ideas as a guest blogger and for his home improvement company. He recently added a holiday checklist to his own company blog at Case Design / Remodeling Charlotte NC
Holiday Houseguests Checklist - Charlotte NC