November is here, and that means the parade of holiday visitors will soon begin. If you’re a new homeowner, you might be playing host for family and friends from afar for the first time. Whether you are new to hosting or have done it for years, here are some tips and tricks that can make opening your home to others a bit easier.
Scratch simple maintenance items off your to-do list early.
Need to have the chimney swept? Noticed the guest room windows are a bit drafty? Schedule services and tackle simple DIY projects well ahead of time if possible so you are not stressing about them on Thanksgiving Eve or the week of Christmas. This is also not the time to start anything major like a renovation or a systems overhaul. If there is an emergency or significant repair that needs to be addressed, that is clearly an exception, but don’t add new major home projects to your plate if you don’t have to.
Speaking of emergencies: be prepared.
Google is great, but when you run out of heating oil or your furnace goes on the fritz you do not want to be frantically searching the internet while the thermostat drops. (This goes for whether or not you have a home full of guests.) Make sure you have the name and number of your heating and other critical systems providers handy so you can save yourself time and stress if the unexpected happens.
Budget things out.
If you’re a new homeowner, chances are you need to rebuild your savings or you have some projects in mind for the future. Even though you scrimped and saved to buy your home, stick to that pre-purchase discipline. Budget out your holiday spending and stick to it as much as possible so you can continue to invest in your house in the New Year rather than have significant credit card bills. If your friends or family do gift exchanges, consider adding needed home items or some fun décor to your wish list!
Clean, clean, clean.
Nothing is more awkward than having your mother or neat-nik friend give your well-loved (and cluttered) kitchen the side eye. Tackle things like the oven, ceiling fans, baseboards, and spare rooms ahead of time. Break it down into chunks if you’re on a budget (think a room or project per weekend) so you can still have time for holiday fun. Better yet, give yourself the holiday gift of a professional cleaning. The best way to find an affordable local cleaner you can trust is through word of mouth, so ask around and treat yourself.
Stock up on extras.
Extra people in the house mean you’ll need more sheets, towels, snacks, and other necessities if you don’t have them already. Shop ahead so you can snag things on sale (did someone say Black Friday?).
Streamline for less stress.
It can be overwhelming to have people in your home, especially if it’s your first time playing host or if you’re expecting a big crowd. See where you can streamline your holiday to keep things simple and stress less. Not a big fan of cooking? See if people are willing to pitch in and do a holiday meal potluck-style. If do-it-yourself décor isn’t your style, keep your decorations simple. Sometimes doing less truly results in more: more time to enjoy the people around you and make memories in your home.
What are your holiday hosting hacks? Share them in the comments! As always, if you have questions you can reach us firstname.lastname@example.org.