Christmas decorations begin hitting the stores before the first days of fall, so no wonder we often feel pressured to perform. But having a beautiful and welcoming home for the holidays is easier - and cheaper - than one might think.
The time to prepare your home for the holidays is before the holidays hit. Our holiday tips for enhancing and updating your home require more elbow grease than money, and we’ve also got tips for budgeting your time, as well.
Whether you plan to entertain – or if it will just be you and possibly your spouse and kids – there’s no reason to try and create a house that looks like a magazine spread. After all, the holidays should be about more than beautifully wrapped presents, handmade throw pillows and a tablescape set for 12.
But it is true that a calm, smartly (not necessarily extravagantly) decorated and organized home will help you and your guests get into the holiday spirit. There are small things you can do to enhance your home without busting your budget.
Here are some things to consider now before the hustle and bustle of the holidays start happening.Are you cluttered?
Decluttering is always the first step in freshening up a home. Items tend to build over time, and holiday decorations and presents will only add to the chaos. Declutter now by following the standard rule: If you haven’t used it in a year, donate or discard it.
Has your house accumulated everyday grime?
Spend a weekend going through your home and making note of minor bumps and bruises. Is that throw starting to fray? Have the children left marks up and down the hallway wall? Is a window covered with doggie nose prints? Minor repairs now may help dissuade major mishaps during the holidays. If you haven’t done so already, have yearly maintenance performed on appliances, fireplaces, HVAC units and other items.
Are guests expected?
If so, now is the time to freshen up the guest room or plan sleeping arrangements. If you don’t have a bedroom to spare, there are still ways to create a comfortable environment for overnight guests.
Is your kitchen ready to perform?
Since guests tend to congregate in the kitchen, now is the time to look around and see what repairs or replacements need to be made. A few simple changes and updates can take your kitchen from worn out to wonderful … quickly and inexpensively.
How is your curb appeal?
You don’t have to go all-out during the holiday season, but a clean yard, a swept porch and a freshly painted front door will say “welcome and happy holidays” to all those who enter in. Check to see if outdoor lighting is adequate and enhances your home.
Do you have time to decorate?
Many set out to decorate their entire home, only to later realize that Christmas is a week away and the tree is still in the attic. Realistically plan your holiday schedule and decide now how much time you truly have – or desire – to decorate. Is it only 15 minutes? Don’t be discouraged! We’ve got a great plan to help you decorate even in that small amount of time.
Is your bathroom guest-worthy?
You may not mind your daily grime, but your guests do. Clean this room like you are Cinderella. Seasonal hand towels rarely cost more than a few dollars and can spiff up your space quickly. Scented candles can impart a fresh, holiday fragrance even when not lit. Other quick and budget-friendly bathroom ideas abound.
Do you need to feed a crowd?
Menu planning can be the most intimidating, but remember the K.I.S.S. rule. When feeding a crowd, simple but tasty dishes will be much more appreciated than a fancy dish that flops. Now is the time to try out new recipes before the big day begins. If you are tight on space and/or time, food may be the only decoration you desire to do.
Are you stressed?
I should have listed this one first, but try to remember that the holidays are about much more than creating a home that would showcase in a magazine spread. Do what you can, when you can, and let the rest go. Be sure to schedule in some downtime. In a pinch, you can always dim the lights, put on some holiday music and let your guests relax with a warm drink. If you do these things, you’ll always be remembered as the hostess with the mostest!