Greetings from Shorter Designs! This is the second part of a two-part holiday newsletter.
After doing the ideas from November’s newsletter, consider what type of ambiance you would like to have at your gathering. For instance, do you prefer childlike fun or adult elegance? Once you have decided what feel you would like your home to have, flip through holiday magazines to get ideas for centerpieces and other decorations. Make a list of the items you need to buy for your decorations.
If the next thing on your itinerary is a family tradition, think through and list all of the supplies you will need for that to be a special time. Depending on the tradition, some ideas include books, candles, recipes, paper, music, and movies.
Follow this procedure of looking at your schedule and making lists for each activity until you are finished.
Now it is time to think through overnight company. If people are going to be staying in your home, there are a few things you can do to make their stay more enjoyable for them… and for you.
Start by sending directions via email to everyone who is invited. (Save directions on your computer so you can have them ready when others need to know how to find your home in the future.) In this email, be sure to ask if anyone will be flying in and the time of their arrival. Put arrival times in your schedule and make a plan for picking up guests.
Wash sheets and towels a few days before you are expecting your company so you will not be rushing around on Thanksgiving Day trying to do laundry and cook at the same time. Set the linens aside and put them out the day before guests arrive.
You also need to think about the cleanliness of your home. One to two days before the big event, spend extra time cleaning. Make sure the bathrooms sparkle, the floors are cleaned, and all surfaces have been dusted. If you can, delegate tasks to others in your household. Children can help with some things, as well as husbands!
If you absolutely do not have time to clean, consider hiring a cleaning service. Make sure to schedule an appointment at least three weeks in advance since these services are busy around the holiday season.
Are presents going to be involved in your celebration? Of course you should make a list of people to buy for and possible gift ideas. Try to have all of your shopping done two weeks beforehand at least. Most things we buy can be stored, so resolve to pick up at least one gift each time you are running errands. This will save time later on and help you feel more prepared for the big day. Wrap gifts and write Christmas cards while you watch TV at night, and you will be ahead of the game!
Finally, there are some things you want to be sure to have on hand to make your guests’ stay more comfortable. Basic first aid supplies are a good idea whenever kids are around. You need extra chairs for meal time and pillows for night time. A nice touch is to have magazines and books around the home for your company to read. And it is hard to go wrong with fresh flowers scattered throughout your home to add color (unless your guests have allergies).
While the holidays are notoriously stressful, there are many things you can do to ease their hectic pace. With a little forethought, holiday celebrations can be fun and even relaxing! Remember that the season is intended to bring joy and provide time to be with those we love. Enjoy your celebrations!
Here are some great things to do in December:
- Spend extra time with family and friends since you will probably have some time off work. Plan a special outing that everyone will enjoy.
- Create a holiday binder that you can refer to in the future. Include a section for holiday recipes you have gathered from family members or clipped from a magazine. Add another section for gifts. List everyone you bought presents for this year and what you got for them. Review it in years to come to be sure you don’t give the same person the same gift twice. Also you may want to keep holiday receipts in your binder in case anyone needs to return one of your gifts.
- Schedule appointments now for you and your family to get haircuts and manicures. Making appointments early will guarantee you are seen when you need to be.