I love the holidays. I love being able to make my children happy on Christmas morning. I love the season. I love the feelings that the holidays brings about. I also love decorating my home for the holidays. And I love entertaining. Ok… and while I don’t like driving in it, I do love how beautiful the Chicago snow is around the holidays. What I don’t really love is all of the fuss and preparation that comes along with entertaining at home for the holiday. Sometimes it can be overwhelming. However, it does not have to be. When we plan parties at home, I take the opportunity to force myself to do a deep cleaning, and finish projects around the house that I may have been putting off.
As you already know we have been in our home for just over 9 months. Settling in, decorating, and making a house a home takes time. We have been getting things done slowly but surely. When we decided to host Thanksgiving dinner I knew that there were a few things that I wanted to get done before guests arrived.
Make a Holiday List of Things to Do
The best way to get everything done is a make a list. Walk from room to room in your home and decide what you want to get done. Depending on how ambitious you are, this may include a range of things like painting, putting together furniture, or simply cleaning. And get started early!
Since we used this opportunity to complete projects that we had been putting off my list was quite long. It included some projects that I had been putting off. Other than major projects, of course the list also included obvious items like clean all bathrooms, mop floor, and vacuum.
Make Use of the Features of Your Thermostat
I told you before about my awesome Aprilaire system, and the features that help keep our home comfortable. This is an even bigger deal in winter when we spend more time in the house because it’s cold outside. And since it’s winter, dryer air in the home can irritate your nose, sinuses, and more and lead to you being more susceptible to colds and flu. In winter, the humidity in your home should be between 30-50% in order to keep down condensation. And maintaining relative humidity below 50% prevents dust mite infestations, mold and mildew growth, and inhibits bacteria which can make you sick. This is where the Aprilaire humidifier comes in. It can put moisture in the air to keep it from getting too dry.
Depending on the temperature outside, your furnace may be working a lot. If you have guests staying, you want to make them comfortable. I remember staying at a friend’s house several years ago. They kept their thermostat set at 62. This was freezing to me! 62 outside in the sun is not the same as 62 in the house. I had to raise the thermostat so that I did not freeze. I do not want this to happen to my guests. We made sure to adjust our usual away schedule so that the temp did not drop and freeze my stepdaughter since she was still in the house while we went to work.
Another great feature of the system is the air cleaner. During the winter, we cook more. We certainly cook more around the holidays. This means I may be making stews, pies, or other dishes that have a heavy smell that floats throughout the house. We love these smells while cooking because it entices everyone to the kitchen. But, we don’t want these smells hang around hours later. And depending on who your guests are, your home may eventually smell like 5 different colognes, 7 different perfumes, and remnants of cigarettes. Ick!
The Aprilaire High Efficiency Air Cleaner is a whole-house cleaning solution that removes 94% of pollen and mold, 72% of airborne bacteria and fungi, and 56% of dust particles. It can also filter smells, and permanently trap indoor allergens that can lead to respiratory problems.
Tackle Unfinished Projects
As mentioned above, knowing that company is coming for a holiday makes me want complete projects around the house. While this is not necessary at all, because I mean… guests will have no idea that you had 5 pictures that you wanted to hang on the wall. But, it is great self-motivation to have a hard deadline. And in our case where we are in a new home, it’s fun to have friends and family come by and notice the projects we’ve completed since the last time they visited. We replaced the chandelier in the dining room. We hung curtains in the family room, hung a photo canvas on the wall, and so much more.
Make Your Home Comfortable for Guests
We have not had many guests yet. We had my daughter’s friend stay over several months ago. My husband’s friend crashed on the couch one night. And my step-daughters come to stay every few weeks.
One of the major items on my list was to get the guest room looking like a real guest room before my stepdaughter came to visit from Miami on Thanksgiving. Up until then the guestroom had been mostly taken over by my husband’s office stuff, and there was a queen sized air mattress for guests. This was certainly not ideal. Over the past couple of months my husband moved his desk, chair, and other office stuff to the basement.
This left space for me to turn the room until a real guest room. Finally! Since it’s my stepdaughters that stay most often, I designed the room with them in mind. I decided on 2 twin sized beds rather than one queen sized bed. I added 2 small nightstands, a surge protector under each nightstand, lamps, room darkening curtains, and mirrors on the wall. I would also like to add a small dresser. This room actually has a huge closet, so there is plenty of storage for guests. It now looks like a real room!
Don’t Try to Do Too Much
If only there were enough hours in the day to get it all done, but usually there are not! As you get closer and closer to the date of your holiday event you may find that you just cannot get it all done. This happened to me. I had a handful of things left on my list that did not get done by Thanksgiving. But, it’s ok! I will just try again. It’s best to keep yourself sane and don’t stress out over doing too much. And by all means get help. Delegate to your spouse and the kids. The holidays are about enjoying time with family, not running yourself ragged.
What are your tips for prepping your home for holiday entertaining?
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Aprilaire. All opinions are my own.