Homeowner’s Guide to Hosting the Holidays
Hosting the holidays festivities can be stressful, but these tips should help, know your limitations. If you cannot host guests for the holidays, now is the time to make that decision rather than trying to over-extend yourself.
Set limits and be ready for them. For example, if kids are too much work for you to have underfoot during these busy times, it would be wise to re-think hosting holiday parties with children in attendance or having your children come home from college because their dorm room will not accommodate visitors due to limited space. This way, you won’t feel guilty about being overwhelmed by excessive demands on your time and energy during this season of giving thanks for what we have many blessings. Of course, if you are up for the challenge and can find a way to make it work with whatever limitations you must deal with, all the better.
Holiday parties at home tend to be more stressful than those planned in a rented hall or community function center. Everyone may be squashed into close quarters on your timetable, so there is little time for breathing space. However, instead of getting overwhelmed by the pressures of pleasing everyone on your guest list leading up to significant events such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, host smaller holiday gatherings rather than large-scale events during this season. For example, require guests who RSVP to attend an upcoming holiday party at your house to bring food items shared with everyone. This way will allow people to feel more comfortable knowing plentiful bounties of food will be available to go around. In turn, you won’t have to spend hours worrying about how much food to serve or if it’s all gone before the end of the evening.
Also, try having a couple of parties throughout the month instead of two events that are several days apart from each other. There is nothing wrong with hosting as many holiday parties as you can accommodate so long as your time and energy levels allow it. Whether you choose one large-scale event or multiple smaller ones depends upon how much time and effort you can give to the planning and hosting.
Pay attention to special needs your guests may have. Some people are homebound for various reasons, so they can’t get out much during this season, while others will be traveling long distances by plane or car, so they need places to rest their heads if possible before setting off on their journey back home after a holiday celebration is over. So, let’s try not to become too upset about last-minute changes in plans that have occurred because of unforeseen circumstances beyond everyone’s control, such as Childcare being unavailable for children who are allergic to pets or certain types of fur due to safety concerns. All you can do is keep communications open with each guest who RSVPs appreciate your invitation to spend time together during this season.
Please don’t overdo it decorating outside either! You want people visiting your home to enjoy the beauty of your decorations without tripping over them. Keep walkways clear and make sure steps are well lit.
If you don’t have a budget to buy new holiday décor, use what you already have on hand or make yourself with creative thinking! For instance, take an inexpensive wooden hanger and spray paint it with festive accents. Hang pine boughs from it for instant wreath artwork! If your evergreen boughs tend to be sparse at the ends, or you want fuller coverage, take some potted plants that are thriving this time of year and weave their foliage through the branches for added lushness. Here’s another idea: Use gingerbread cookie cutters to create ribbon bows out of raffia and attach them to your wreaths. It’s also a nice touch to string popcorn and cranberries (fresh or dried) for garland while you’re decorating. Use some of the cut-up bits to pop into bowls as centerpieces, while others can be strung on ribbon and hung on walls, doors, and windows.
Don’t forget a helpful tip for Hosting the Holidays: Take advantage of holiday sales and stock up early for next year, so you don’t have to scrimp during this upcoming season of giving thanks! So, if you cannot find what you need at local stores, then turn to the Internet, where there is no shortage of these types of bargains waiting for just a few keystrokes away:
Do not feel obligated to go all out decorating for the holidays. Many think that simplifying holiday decorations is more effective to enjoy the festive season than inundating your guests with visual clutter. You can still create an exceptional atmosphere without going overboard and driving yourself into exhaustion in the process! It’s better to have a relaxed attitude while entertaining than try to live up to some impossible ideal of perfection, which will only stress you out and make hosting something other than a joyous occasion! One thing you should never forget: A lot of simple elegance can be achieved by focusing your efforts on quality, not quantity, when it comes to holiday décor.
If you are hosting a holiday meal, make sure to clean your oven (inside and out) beforehand. This will help prevent food particles from burning onto the racks. If you don’t want to haul out the cleaning supplies, try this neat trick: Squirt some dish soap into a small shallow bowl and add a few drops of lemon extract or oil. Then place several cotton balls over it and light them with a match! The smoke coming off the wet parts of each ball steams away all the dirt without any elbow grease necessary on your part! Allow the unit to cool before replacing racks in their proper positions.
Don’t be afraid to branch out when cooking for guests during this season rather than sticking with tried-and-true recipes. There are so many beautiful recipes available online and in cookbooks to choose from that the possibilities of new ideas or flavors to try are endless!
Think about it and ask yourself what type of experience you want your guests to have while visiting. Some might feel that because it is Christmas or Thanksgiving, everyone should eat turkey at every meal! Others may prefer an all-Italian cuisine for dinner parties. Still, some like exotic menus during this festive season, such as a Moroccan feast with a belly dancer entertaining throughout the evening! Be open to suggestions and ideas where food is concerned but know yourself before deciding on a theme that seems attractive at first glance but may turn out to be impractical after a closer look!
So, as we all can see, when hosting the holidays, there is no need to reinvent the wheel as far as hosting your holiday guests. It’s all about making minor adjustments and applying creativity where it counts most, so everything comes together beautifully for this season of celebration!
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