With the winter holidays just around the corner, it's time for family gatherings and out-of-town guests. Hosting relatives means more time to bond and celebrate the season together, but it also comes with a helping of stress. This holiday season, simplify your hosting routine and wow your guests with these easy tips.
Embrace the lived-in look
Your major pre-guest activity is sure to be tidying and deep-cleaning your home. Guests will expect, and appreciate a neat, clean space. But the loved ones who stay with you overnight understand they aren’t staying in a museum. It's completely appropriate for your home to look like you live there. Embrace the idea that not every item needs to be impeccably organized or stowed away in a closet or drawer. The mail on the entryway table, the cuddly blanket on the couch and the books stacked on the coffee table are signs of life, and may even allow your guests to relax and feel at home.
Outfit beds with waterproof sheets
When children are overly excited about the holidays, fueled by sugar and bedtime snacks, and in an unfamiliar environment, they may be more likely to have accidents. Even adults enjoying a late-night glass of wine or an early morning cup of coffee may have a spill. Protect your mattresses and make cleanup easy by using waterproof fitted sheets. High-quality versions that are soft, hypoallergenic and rustle-free will feel like a luxurious treat for your guests.
Precook snacks and meals
Feeding a crowd can be time-consuming and take you away from the family fun. Rather than cooking all meals and snacks in the moment, plan the menu and cook in advance. Many items can be made several days ahead, stored in the refrigerator or freezer, and heated prior to serving. In addition to meals, consider making extra snacks, such as dips or cookies, in order to satisfy cravings. For an even easier way out, look into a catered meal for a touch that will wow your guests while keeping you out of the kitchen.
Stock the pantry
During the holidays, the grocery stores are packed and, inevitably, out of everything on your list. Hosting house guests means your shopping list will be longer than usual, so plan ahead and reduce your last-minute runs to the store. Before guests arrive, find out their dietary needs, their favorite munchies and how they take their coffee. Stock up on all the essentials and a few surprise treats and then pat yourself on the back for avoiding the preholiday grocery store madness.