Monday, November 25, 2013

Getting your Home Ready for the Holidays

Holiday Decor from Hidden in France
Playing host for a holiday event can be a thing of beauty, don't get overwhelmed with home repairs. Explore ways to show off your home that are budget friendly and huge time savers.

Sweet Thanksgiving Centerpiece from Oh Joy

New shiny hardwoods or a bit of paint would make your home just perfect for holiday entertaining, but the holidays are closing in and you just don't have the time. Following a few helpful hints for holiday home prep lets you enjoy being host instead of being bogged down with impossible-to-accomplish home repairs.

The Thankful Tree by Simply Vintagegirl
1. Festive Touches - Let your guests know that you are excited to be their host by adding some festive touches. While you don't have to go crazy with cornucopia and garland, you may be inspired to enhance your spaces with a bit of holiday decor. These festive touches could be as simple as creating place cards constructed of tiny turkeys or adding sprigs of holly to a beautiful floral centerpiece. Enhance your own decor with festive touches infused with your own personal style. If your decor is more rustic or eclectic, mimic that style in your festive decor with burlap stockings. If you are preparing a formal meal, pull out all of the stops with unique place settings, candles and cloth napkins.

Thankful Turkey from Parents

If you have a household full of kiddos, enlist them to make decorations, particularly for the kid table.

2. Set the Mood - You are playing host. It's up to you to set the mood for the occasion, Whether your event is casual or formal, bright and open or dim and intimate, it will be up to you to set the tone and enhance the atmosphere. Create an entertaining playlist, encourage interaction and let the kiddos play.

2. Create Warmth - The fall and winter holiday seasons offer a naturally warm color palette. Use this to your advantage when decorating festively. Warm your space by using the warmer colors in your festive touches. Add some orange or red throw pillows to your sofas and chairs to warm up your home. Switch your current rug with one that builds on the hues of the season. Rugs add warmth in both style and temperature, by helping to keep your cold floors warm. Warming your home is more than just turning on your heater, it is adjusting lighting (the brighter the room, the warmer it will seem), adding a little bit of yourself in the decor and keeping all areas inviting (i.e., sit here, curl up here, sleep here, get cozy here).

Cozy up to a Flokati Shag Rug

4. Rearrange  - The arrangement of your furniture in your home should be conducive to socialization and dining. If your holiday event is a cocktail party, create plenty of open spaces with seating around the outskirts. Make sure that there are plenty of surfaces upon which to place drinks or food. If your holiday event includes a sit down dinner, make sure that your tables are the main attraction and the center of all of the activity.

5. De-Clutter - Nothing says spic and span like eliminating clutter. Carefully study each room of your home where guests will be frequenting and eliminate any and all clutter. Stacks of papers, magazines, bills and toys can be hidden for a short while. The more clutter, the smaller your space will seem. This also refers to furniture, books and decorative accessories. Don't take up so much space with your personal items that your guests won't feel welcome.

6. Toiletries - Fill your bathrooms with all that a guest will need to feel at home. Put those hotel shampoos and lotions to use by stocking the shower and sink area. Predict what your guests might need before they actually need it. Assemble a random sampling of new products that you find at your local markets or your favorite cosmetics boutiques to introduce your guests to the items that make you feel at home.

Photo Courtesy of Rantings of a Creole Princess

7. Focus on Specific Areas - When cleaning, decorating, de-cluttering and beautifying, focus on the areas where your guests will be. Save your bedroom, garage and office for another occasion. Don't overwhelm yourself with parts of your home that won't be used. Make the most important spaces shine.

8. Appliance Check - Make sure all of your appliances, particularly those in your kitchen are in tip top shape. Without a properly functioning oven or a refrigerator, your Thanksgiving dinner could transform itself from one of turkey and dressing to peanut butter and jelly. Make sure your fridge's water filter has been replaced and the ovens are keeping up with required temperatures. Place a thermometer in the oven while it is set to bake, just to make sure.

9. Consider all Guests - You are likely to receive guests of all ages, shapes and sizes. Review your guest list and be prepared to host all guests. For the smallest of guests, make sure there is a bit of child-proofing and a few activities to keep them busy. For guests who may not be as nimble as you, consider tripping hazards and stairs, providing help when necessary.

10. Totally Cheat - If you have giant closets, take advantage of the space and hide your clutter. Walk-in closets can be your best friend during the holiday season, make them work for you. They will completely earn their worth in those few short days. Make meal preparation easy on yourself, do as much as possible before hand, invite guests to bring favorite dishes and be sure to enjoy yourself. Leave as much time as possible to visit with your guests, after all they are reason for celebrations of the season.

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