How to Prep Your Home for Holiday Guests
The holidays are no doubt a time of joy. To many, a home full of family and friends is what the season is all about. To others, the mere thought of company can send them into a tailspin. Where will everyone sit? Will there be enough room? Will people be comfortable? Will they have a good time?
Luckily, with a little planning, your holiday events can go off without a hitch. Sprucing up your space, prepping things ahead of time, and setting the mood will make sure your guests feel welcomed and ready to celebrate! Following are some guidelines.
Tidy your entry. You only have one chance to make a first impression, and your entry is the first thing your guests will see. Brush away the cobwebs, sweep up any leaves, and make sure your porch light is working. It may also be a good idea to purchase a new welcome mat. Inside, clear away muddy boots, old mail, and stray coats and jackets to make room for your guests’ things.
Clear the clutter. During the hectic days leading up to the holidays, it can be easy to let things pile up. But with guests arriving, it’s best to tidy up. Clear your tabletops of mail and keys, stash the kids’ toys, and make sure coats and shoes are hidden in a closet. In the kitchen, run the dishwasher, put away all the clean dishes and clear the countertops.
Clean (most of) the house. Despite what your well-intentioned great aunt may say, there’s no need to deep clean your home prior to hosting holiday guests. If time is limited, which it most certainly will be, focus on the most important areas: wipe down the guest bathroom, vacuum and dust the living and dining areas, and mop the kitchen floor.
Set the mood. Help get your guests get in the holiday spirit by creating a cozy, festive environment in your home. A few new toss pillows, cozy throws and new candles can do wonders for sprucing up your home. Add sprigs of pine or cedar along tabletops or mantles for a festive look. Light candles, start a fire in the fireplace and turn on the holiday music and you’re good to go.
Load up on snacks. Whether you’re having guests over for the day, the night or the week, make sure to keep their grumbling tummies at bay. Have snacks within easy reach, and consider setting up a “snack station” in the kitchen with fresh fruits, granola bars, nuts and other grab-and-go items (and a batch of holiday cookies wouldn’t hurt, either).
Secure enough seating. Don’t wait until after guests arrive to make sure you have enough places to sit. Borrow or buy inexpensive folding chairs for the dining table, and bring in furniture from other rooms for the living areas. Consider items that serve double duty: ottomans, stools, and even some side tables can serve as added seating. Or, consider oversized floor pillows.
Buy in bulk. There’s nothing worse than having to run to the store in the middle of a holiday celebration. Make sure your home is well-stocked with the basics: coffee, paper towels, firewood, and yes, toilet paper. Make sure you store the extras in plain sight so your guests don’t have to snoop through the cupboards to find what they need.
Stock the kitchen. A good host knows that not everyone likes the same things they do. While black coffee may be your preference, keeping cream and sugar on hand for guests is a simple step to make sure they’re happy. Not a coffee drinker? Pick up an inexpensive brewer or instant coffee just in case. It’s also a good idea to have a selection of teas and other beverages on hand as well.
Stock the bathroom. Nothing says “welcome” than anticipating your guests’ needs. A pretty basket in the bathroom with hand towels, lotion, mouthwash and mints can have a big impact. Festive hand soap can add to the appeal, as can scented candles or fresh flowers. For overnight guests, offering travel-size shampoo, razors and toothbrushes will make them feel pampered.
Prep your guest room. Having overnight guests? Make them feel at home by laying out fresh towels. No one wants to be digging around the linen cabinet last minute searching for a clean (and matching) set. Similarly, make sure your guest room has clean sheets, plenty of blankets and extra pillows. Pick up a sleep mask, earplugs and a magazine or two and leave them on the nightstand for an added bonus.
Make space. If you don’t have a dedicated guest room, make sure whichever room is set aside has enough space for your guests to feel comfortable. For example, if you’re using a child’s room for the night, clear a drawer and make space in the closet (with extra hangers). Make sure tabletops are cleaned off. And for goodness’ sakes, clear the Legos off the floor.
Category Home Inspiration
Elizabeth Penney is a content writer for Lyon Real Estate and the Lyon Local blog. A Sacramento native with a marketing background, she shares her insider knowledge on restaurants, attractions and outdoor activities throughout the greater Sacramento area and beyond.