Whether you have done it once or many times, hosting guests for the holidays is no small effort. Even if your visitors are just staying for a few hours for a party, you want your home to shine; you want to impress with your hosting know-how. With less than 10 days to go until Christmas, and the holiday season on our doorstep, many people are wondering how to get their homes ready for the season.
Families will be popping in, guests might be staying over and generally, there will be more festivities for everyone to enjoy. With that in mind, Aisha Pandor, chief executive and co-founder of SweepSouth, has some tips on how to best prepare your home for the December holiday season.
Add festive decor around the house
If you want to get into the festive spirit, adding seasonal decor around the house is a great way to do just that. If you don’t have the budget to buy new decor, there are many decorations that you can do yourself or buy second-hand. Just putting up a Christmas tree makes a huge difference to the festive spirit in a home.
Stock the cupboards
Declutter the pantry and stock it with staples for the holiday season. This could be a mix of non-perishables such as rice, pasta, and long-life milk, as well as snacks that are easy to just grab and go. Think of the types of things that your family enjoys eating. Do they like healthy granola bars? Pasta-based meals? Add this to your pantry ahead of time so that you don’t have to head to the busy shops during this period.
Prepare for overnight guests
You might have family coming into town or friends wanting to sleep-over. There are various ways to prepare for anyone staying the night.
Do a deep clean of the guest bedroom or whichever room you have allocated for anyone who stays over, says Aisha. Then also consider keeping spares of things they might have forgotten. This could be toothbrushes, toothpaste, soaps, shampoos, and other toiletries.
It’s also a good idea to ensure that you have extra bedding so that you can keep it fresh for each new guest. And for that added touch, add a bar of turndown chocolate or treat to their room on the first night.
Make freezer meals
No one feels like slaving away in the kitchen during the holiday season. Prepare meals ahead of time and freeze them. Easy meals to freeze include stews, pasta, and even soup. These can be popped out and put in the oven or microwave on those days when no one feels up to the task of cooking.
Spruce up the front area or entrance
When guests arrive, the first thing they see is the front entrance of your home. Take some time to spruce up this area to make a lasting first impression. This could be as simple as adding Christmas decorations to your door or if you have a bigger space, add candles and fresh flowers for a sweet scent as guests step into your home.
Prepare for load shedding
This is our reality in South Africa, so it’s best to be prepared. Stock up on batteries, rechargeable lights, candles, gas for gas appliances, and anything else you might need for load shedding. Download load-shedding apps to check your schedule and plan meals and activities based on this.
It’s very easy for things to pile up on countertops, tables, and shelves. Regardless of how beautiful your interior design is, clutter will make your home look messy. Now is an excellent time to declutter these areas. Get rid of as many unnecessary things, donate them to charities and second-hand shops. For everything else, make use of baskets and storage boxes. Storage containers really tidy up space and can make a cluttered area look much neater.