7 Great Ways to Prepare for Holiday Guests

Let’s face facts.  It’s a crazy-busy time of year and we don’t have time to do everything to prepare for our holiday dinner guests.  Even though we may not have time to remodel, we can do our best to make our homes welcoming to friends and family. Today, I’m sharing ways to prepare for holiday guests.

Here are 7 great ways to prepare for holiday guests:

1.  Focus on what your guests can see:

Instead of doing everything, pick a few areas of your home.

Preparing our home to welcome guests

Take your windows for instance.  If you don’t have time to clean all of them, then just clean the ones in your entertaining areas.  Since your holiday guests will probably use the front door, focus on the windows around the door.  Don’t be stressed if that’s all you have time for…but maybe sweep the porch while you are at it, though.

Don’t waste your time organizing those out-of-the-way places like your upstairs bedroom closets.  You will have plenty of time to clean your closet in dreary old January when you realize half your clothes don’t fit because you indulged too much over the holidays!  No one should be upstairs anyway.  Do you really want Aunt Millie snooping around and asking why you aren’t displaying that muli-colored afghan she crocheted for you 20 years ago?  I don’t think so…

2.  Replace burnt out light bulbs:

Evaluate your inside and outside areas…

outdoor lighting

Since most of us don’t turn on the dining room chandelier much, we might not notice a burnt out bulb until the last minute.  Do yourself a favor and check them ahead of time. 

While you are at it, take a look at your outside fixtures as well…(or maybe you are lucky enough to have a nosy helpful neighbor who has already pointed that out to you).  After all, you don’t want your relatives stumbling down your porch stairs after a big turkey dinner…thoughI guess you could blame it on the wine if all else fails.

3.  Have some clean flower vases close by:

After all, someone might show up with flowers as a hostess gift…

Vase for flowers

If someone is thoughtful enough to arrive with a bouquet of flowers, you should be organized enough to have a couple clean vases on hand.  That way you can graciously accept the flowers and immediately place them into some fresh water.  You will avoid those awkward minutes of scurrying around looking for a vase…while you are holding a turkey baster in your hand screaming, “Can I get some help in here?!!

4.  Take an inventory of your napkins:

If you use cloth napkins, you’ll want to make sure that they’re in good shape.

White napkins on Thanksgiving Table

Weeks before a holiday, I make sure my cloth napkins are cleaned and ironed.  Ironing napkins…not a fun job but no one wants to see wrinkled up napkins on the table.  What would Aunt Millie think?  Buy another set if your napkins are questionable.  After all, it never hurts to have extras.  And speaking of extras, there are 3 Spare Items You Should Have on Hand when entertaining in your home.

5.  Polish the silverware/Clean the crystal glasses:

If you’re setting a pretty table, your accessories should sparkle!

Silver cleaning tips and other entertaining preparations

Let’s face it, the holidays are probably the only time we get to use those fancy wedding gifts we insisted on registering for years ago.  Remember to show your appreciation to the people who probably bought them for you and give those pieces a good shine!  Since, I’m not a fan of toxic cleaners, you’ll want to read my silver cleaning post – Cleaning Silver Without Harsh Chemicals.  For the crystal, I usually count how many glasses I will need and hand wash them…just in case they have collected dust while sitting in the cabinet for the past year.

6.  Take a look at your painted surfaces:

After all, it doesn’t hurt to freshen things up…

beadboard ceiling

Now, I am not saying you need to paint a whole room.  (Although I must admit, we painted our dining room a few months ago and I can’t wait to entertain in there for the first time!)  Basically, you should just freshen up some dingy areas that might have some nicks or fingerprints.  You don’t even have to paint if it’s not really needed.  Sometimes it’s enough to just wipe down moldings or baseboards in high traffic areas or wipe down the doors near the handles. 

*Middle age tip:  If you are like me you might need to whip our your reading glasses to see these flaws…but believe me, they are probably there!

7.  Attempt a few small projects you’ve wanted to accomplish:

Ironically, most of us get motivated to work on our homes right before we are planning to host an occasion.

Preparing your home for holiday guests

Sometimes, the last minute pressure seems to force us to get things done.  Yes, I have been there…Last year, I panicked when I realized I had a bunch of nail holes on my dining room walls but I came up with a creative solution – Easy and Inexpensive Tip – When You Can’t Commit to Artwork. This year, I have been procrastinating about painting a door in my laundry room.  Luckily, it’s not a huge project so I am confident I can get it done.

Choose something that’s doable and won’t make you cry and pull out your hair with frustration.  Maybe just buy a few throw pillows, set up a coffee station or rearrange the china cabinet…anything that will make your home feel more welcoming and cozy for guests.  Aunt Millie will appreciate your efforts.

*Please note that I do not have an Aunt Millie and no Aunt Millies were harmed in the writing of this post.

How do you prepare for holiday guests?

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Preparing Your Home for Holiday Guests


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  1. I love all of these tips. And thanks for the reminder about pulling out the reading glasses before checking things around the house! 😀

  2. Shelley I love the Middle Age Tip :)….I just got my first pair of readers at Walgreens and am not sure I want to take a close look at the walls of my house with them! Right now I’m blissfully unaware! This is a great list, thank you!

    1. Ha – Thanks! I gave in a couple years ago and now have readers stashed all over the house. Though, I guess sometimes it is better to be unaware! Thanks for the sweet comment!

  3. Great tips! There’s nothing like knowing that guests are coming to spur you into “get it done” action.

    1. Thank you so much! I think I get the most done in my home when I know people are coming over! Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your weekend!

    1. That’s great! Sometimes, I think we get so used to seeing our rooms that we overlook things. I am glad to hear you are happy with your kitchen!

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