The holidays usually mean hosting lots of people, whether it’s family, in-laws or friends you’ve picked up over the years. While hosting is a lot of fun, it’s important to get your house ready to receive all your guests, so you can be sure everyone is comfortable, and you don’t end up crowded and stressed. Here are some ways to get your home ready.

 

1. Do a declutter and move things around

As the holidays get closer, think about giving your home a good declutter, as this will ensure you can free up space for visitors. The KonMari method is popular with those who want to declutter but find themselves attached to things. It might be a good time to rethink the layout in key rooms. If you’re going to have a lot of people around the table for big meals, you may want to make some extra space in your dining room. If guests are bringing children, then you might want to free up space in your guest rooms for camp beds. 

Don’t forget that long-term guests will need some sort of storage space unless they plan to live out of a suitcase. You might want to leave them a little closet space and a couple of spare shelves, so they can make themselves at home. 

2. Get meal prepping 

Your main Christmas meal isn’t the only time you’ll be feeding guests. Depending on how long they stay, you might end up feeding breakfast, lunch, and dinner to big groups. This can be exhausting, and if you don’t prep things in advance, you might spend more time alone in the kitchen than you do socializing. Consider pre-prepping some family-style dinners, which you can then simply heat and serve with salad. 

Other than your main holiday meals, don’t feel that you must cook things that are too elaborate. People often get sick of rich, fatty holiday foods if they have them at every meal, so mix it up with some simpler, wholesome dishes.

 

3. Clear the entryway

You know how it is when people show up at your house, they’re often greeted in the entryway, and if they’ve had a long drive, they’ll often kick off their shoes and leave things laying around. Clear the entrance of your home, so that when people turn up, there’s room to greet them properly.

4. Check your sheets and towels now

It’s a nightmare when you go to get the guest sheets or towels out and you realize they don’t fit your new beds, have gotten damaged in storage, or just aren’t up to your standards. This can mean a dash to the mall, which isn’t ideal on Christmas Eve. Check these items now, make sure you have enough spare sheets and that they look good.

5. Make sure you have enough seating

While you may have enough seats to go around the dining table, you should also make sure you have comfortable seating for evenings together, whether you’re playing board games or watching a Christmas movie.  Consider getting some bean bags from Comfy Sacks, as these take up less space them an extra couch yet are cozy and comfortable for those family evenings together. 

6. Set up a help-yourself bar

When you’re hosting, it feels like about 90% of your time is spent topping up people’s drinks. Having a help-yourself policy means people don’t have to sit around waiting when they’re thirsty, and you save a lot of time. It’s not just alcoholic drinks either, having to run around serving juice and soda is no fun, so even if you set up an impressive cocktail bar, make sure there are non-alcoholic drinks too. 

 

7. Try to give overnight guests a private space

It can be tough hosting out of town family, especially if you don’t have a spare bedroom, but you should see if you can give overnight guests their own private space. If you’ve planned to have guests sleeping on a pull-out couch in the living room, it’s worth rethinking this, as the guests are unlikely to feel comfortable and will have to stick to your bedtime schedule. Whether it’s putting dividers in bedrooms or turning the family room into a spare bedroom, a little bit of privacy will ensure people feel more comfortable in your home. 

8. Give people jobs to do

While you want your guests to be comfortable, if you are doing all the cooking and cleaning, then it’s likely you’ll feel like an unpaid servant at the end of the holidays. When you’re preparing a big meal, all hands should be on deck, whether it’s peeling, chopping or loading the dishwasher. Even smaller children can be given little tasks to do, which keeps them busy and out of your hair for a little while. Check out some age-appropriate chores for any kids who are staying. 

9. Get ready for any pets

Kennels and catteries are often full during the holiday season, so you may well find your guests want to bring their pets along. If this is the case, think about whether you can host them before you say yes. While they should prepare for a trip with a pet and bring their own equipment, you’ll need to be able to provide space for the animal, preferably somewhere it can be separated from your own pets so there are no spats. They may not have the space to bring big items such as crates with them, so you might want to borrow one from a friend to give their dog its own space away from the noise.

10. Try to enjoy it

The holidays are never perfect, but you should try and enjoy them as much as possible. It doesn’t matter if things get a little cramped, or you run out of towels, just try to appreciate spending time with loved ones. If you’re pre-prepped and the house is ready, the holidays should be less stressful, and you can join in the fun.