Holiday Tips, Tricks & Reminders
The chaos of the holiday season is quickly approaching; we need to prepare ourselves and family, homes, cars, and gifts. Hosts are busy working on opening up their homes, guests are worried about being a perfect guest, and those who travel are straightening out their logistics. No matter where you fall in the holiday spectrum, you have a lot going on. Below is a list of tips, tricks, and reminders so we can help you feel more at ease!
Do a deep clean at the beginning of the holiday season, and keep up with one daily task to keep your home clean and organized.
There are tons of things to do when preparing to host, make a list, and delegate! Children can set the table and fill water glasses; spouses can start the fire in the fireplace and fluff the pillows on the couch. Don’t be afraid to ask for support!
Hosting can be stressful, and planning everything helps with the stress, but remember to be flexible! A guest can get stuck in traffic and be late; someone could get sick, and many things can go wrong, so it is okay to go with the flow a bit!
Make sure your bar is stocked for your guests to help themselves, but keep it simple so it will stay manageable. But as always, make sure it is festive!
Set the mood for the holiday season! This doesn't mean you need a million decorations–but make sure to appeal to all of the senses when decorating. Lighting a candle that reminds you of the holiday season, playing holiday music softly for background noise, keeping Christmas cookies or other holiday treats on the kitchen counter for people to snack on, and adding some throw blankets around for people to get cozy on the couch are different ways to set the holiday spirit!
Keep meals simple and delicious! A holiday brunch doesn't always have to entail bacon, waffles, and other freshly made foods. You can prepare a quiche and throw it in the oven; fresh-cut fruit is easy and delicious. Also, use your resources; there are plenty of grocery stores around with delicious made ahead dishes. Don’t overextend yourself!
Have your wrapping materials ready. Some people come unprepared and may need to wrap some last-minute gifts. I suggest having a roll of wrapping paper, tape, and scissors out in a guest room or office.
Start wrapping early and make it fun! While preparing for your visit, don't leave the wrapping to the last minute. Wrapping presents can be daunting, but if you put on a holiday movie and pour yourself a glass of wine or eggnog, wrapping presents doesn't seem so stressful.
Sometimes assisting the host is a gift in itself. Call your host ahead of time and ask if you can bring anything for the celebration, even if it is just a salad or fresh fruit! In my experience, the best thing you can bring to my house is ice for the bar! If the host refuses help, then bring a bottle of wine or another gift for the host.
RSVPs, unfortunately, have become less involved lately, but never be the guest that RSVPs too late! Also, if you have any dietary restrictions, let your host know beforehand or offer to bring an alternative for yourself or a family member!
Dress for the occasion; if the dress code is cocktail, ensure you wear the correct thing. The host has opened up and made their home presentable for you; make sure you rise to the occasion.
Stay out of the kitchen! Naturally, we all gravitate to the kitchen because that is the heart of the home, but the hostess might be cooking, and you don't want to be in the way! Make your plate and enjoy your food by the fire.
Check up on the car you will use for the commute. If any warning lights are on your dash, get those checked out and check your tires; traffic is stressful enough when traveling for the holidays; we don't need car troubles. Clean out your car. Your trunk will be VERY full, so empty out any unnecessary items.
Packing your suitcase (and other family members' suitcases) for the holidays can be stressful. This is when a list comes in handy! A few days beforehand, write a list of all events you will be attending and present it to the family. If your daughter can pick out her favorite dress for the holiday service, it will save you a few minutes of playing the guessing game. This will also save you from a few games of 20 questions; you can refer your spouse back to the list while they pack for themselves and help your children pack.
Save your large cardboard boxes. You will have lots of gifts in your car, so pile them in your large cardboard boxes so you can easily bring them to and from the car.
If your host is comfortable, send your larger gifts directly to their house instead of squeezing them into your car. Once you get there, you can wrap it and place it under the tree!
When staying at someone's house, make yourself at home, but stay respectful! Sometimes a host feels overwhelmed by guests that ask a million questions, so instead of asking for a glass of water, just go in the kitchen and pour yourself one. Also, treat their home with respect. Make sure to pick up after yourself and others like you would in your own home.