This time of year is crazy at our house. There seems to be a never ending list of things to do, places to be and people to see. To top it off, it always seems to be the time for unexpected visitors and last minute entertaining!
With two kids under five, my house always has a ‘lived in’ look. Despite the chaos, I have found a few handy hints for preparing it for the festive season that help me to stay organised and keep the house looking semi respectable. This is preparation beyond the decorating and gift buying, it’s making sure your home is ready and able to welcome joyous celebration.
If you are expecting visitors over the holidays, or just want to sort out the house ready for Christmas, then try these tips.
1. Declutter. I am a huge fan of decluttering. There is something about getting rid of a heap of stuff that clears your head and gives you a fresh start. Before the onslaught of gifts from Christmas enter the house, take some time to clear out anything that you no longer need.
Related content: 24 Easy Ways to Declutter Your Home Right Now
My motto when I did my 30 Day Decluttering Challenge was: Do you need it, do you love it and do you use it. If it didn’t pass those tests, then out it went! Be ruthless. Don’t keep things “just in case”.
2. Stock the freezer. Last minute entertaining is always going to be part of the festive season. Make your life easier by stocking up the freezer with a few baked goods (I’ve always got banana bread on hand), and a few BBQ-friendly meats. Bread also freezes well so throw some rolls in for any last minute guests.
3. Give the garden a once over. With summer taking hold, our garden was starting to look a bit neglected. Everything needed a good water and there were plenty of weeds that were getting out of control. Get the kids involved by having them water plants, pull weeds, collect leaves, rake and sweep. If they are older you could let them loose with the lawnmower!
If you don’t have much time, focus on the entry area. Sweep the entrance, pull out any weeds, brush off the door mat and get rid of any cobwebs and fallen leaves.
4. Keep on top of the bathrooms. With visitors coming and going the bathrooms are generally the first areas that need a once over. I personally don’t mind people popping in when I’ve got piles of washing or toys everywhere but I NEED to have the bathrooms clean. Do a two-minute speed clean each evening and you’ll been ready for anything the festive season has to throw at you.
Related content: 5 Places You’re Probably Forgetting to Clean in Your Bathroom
5. Schedule in big jobs. If you’ve been putting off some big jobs during the year, schedule them in now before the craziness begins. We recently had our carpets and lounge cleaned and the difference is amazing! Make a list of anything that needs doing before the Christmas events start and schedule it in.
6. Prepare supplies. I own three tablecloths and they don’t come out often. They live folded in my linen cupboard for approximately 363 days a year which means that when I pull them out, they NEED cleaning and ironing.
If you are expecting visitors over the festive season then now is a good time to iron any tablecloths, check you’ve got enough glasses, pull out the good dinner set (and give it a dust!) and prepare any other entertaining supplies that you might need. It’s no fun searching for the gravy boat on Christmas Eve or realising you don’t have enough chairs as everyone sits down for lunch. Not that that’s every happened to me (gulp).
7. Delegate. The festive season is a time for everyone to get a break and have some time out. That includes YOU! I make a list of everything that needs doing in the lead up to the holidays and then delegate tasks. The kids might not be able to do a task quite to my standard but if I don’t let them try then I’m just creating a pattern where they won’t even bother to try. There are heaps of things kids can do to help around the house and now is the perfect time to
bribe them with the threat of Santa watching encourage them to join in the Christmas spirit.
Remember that the holidays are meant to be a time for rest, relaxation, friends and family. At the end of the day I try to remember that people are coming to our home to visit US, not to evaluate my housekeeping skills. If all else fails, I chuck everything in a few washing baskets, stick them in a bedroom and pour myself and my guests a glass of wine. And no one cares.
Do you love entertaining over the festive season or do you find it stressful?
More ways to be merry and bright this Christmas:
- Simplify Christmas Hosting and Still Have the Best Time Ever
- 5 Totally Photogenic Christmas Day Outfits
- How to Make an Edible Fruit Christmas Wreath
Image: Getty / CPaulsson