“Christmas is a piece of one’s home that one carries in one’s heart.” ~ Freya Stark
We may baulk at the mention, but Christmas is now less than eight weeks away! Many of us find the sudden chaos of Christmas stressful, even if we promised ourselves that ‘we would be organised this year.’
Decorating is still a month off, but numerous aspects of the festivities require a little attention and planning so that your home is ready to celebrate this joyous occasion with friends and family.
So, let this Christmas be different. Follow our simple tips to ensure a stress-free festive season.
Forget Spring Cleaning. This is the time of the year to deep clean and declutter before the overwhelm that can be a Christmas spent at home. We all want our homes to look their best for the stream of guests this season brings. By taking the time to do a deep clean, you will stay on top of all the tricky areas of your house by following your usual cleaning routine.
What’s more, now is the time to declutter before the pile of presents under the tree grows and you find yourself needing more space in which to store the lovely gifts you and your family have received.
Is your spare room masquerading as an office, laundry room, or storeroom? With the comfort of your guests in mind, try and remove or reorganise as much as you can to create a relaxing visitor space. If this is not possible, perhaps you can segment the room with a decorative screen. At the very least, ensure the bed is free from clutter, freshly made, and if possible, give them somewhere to unpack and store their possessions.
The classic decluttering mantra ‘is it beautiful or useful’ is especially helpful when choosing which items to keep, throw, donate, or re-gift. Be ruthless and be generous!
With visitors coming, the family spending more time indoors, and the colder weather drawing in, it is the ideal time to ensure your home stays cosy and warm for the holidays. Check if your boiler needs servicing, whether the radiators need bleeding, if any draughts need caring for, or if the chimney needs sweeping. These tasks can seem arduous, but they don’t take long, and they will ensure you are all happy indoors if we get that ever-elusive White Christmas.
First impressions are critical. There is little point in having a beautiful wreath on your front door or twinkling lights in the windows if the rest of the area is unkempt. Get the whole family involved to sweep up leaves, pull weeds from the garden path, prune back bushes, and clear away cobwebs from alcoves, the porch, and window frames.
A little goes a long way!
How many of us only use tablecloths, the inherited dinner service, or the best cutlery at Christmas? To save last-minute panicking, rediscover these firm favourites now and ready them for use.
It is also your chance to discover if any items are missing or if now is the time to invest in some choice new pieces like a sparkling candelabrum centrepiece, modern wine glasses, or quality napkins and napkin rings.
We are all familiar with the last-minute entertaining that Christmas brings. Be prepared by stocking up your freezer with Christmas canapes, baked goods, and family favourites. Ensure the pantry is full of nibbles, confectionery, canned produce, and a wide selection of beverages. A cheese selection is sure to be a winner and tends to have an extended sell-by date.
We are not advocating the panic buying that many of us have witnessed this year, but simply planning ahead and ensuring your friends are welcomed with a glass of something refreshing and a tasty morsel with which to tempt themselves. You will feel like a fantastic host, and they will enjoy the thoughtfulness.
When the children break up from school and the guests arrive, it can feel somewhat overwhelming deducing how to feed everyone. Not only do you want to impress, but you may need to consider a variety of dietary requirements as well as unexpected guests. Planning out the Christmas period menus in advance saves a lot of time and headaches in the long run, as does booking your online delivery slot as early as you can if you want to take advantage of this service. And don’t forget to place your meat order with your local butcher now too.
The Christmas holidays are a time for everyone to relax and enjoy. This, of course, includes YOU. Delegate a list of everyday routine tasks where you can. Everyone in your home can help with general tidying and washing up, and the little ones tend to enjoy simple tasks like dusting. You will have the space you need to host like a pro and perhaps even put your feet up with a glass of wine!
‘From home to home, and heart to heart, from one place to another. The warmth and joy of Christmas brings us closer to each other.’ – Emily Matthews
Maybe it’s just us, but we already feel that the Christmas spirit is out in full force and gathering momentum. After the challenges of the last couple of years, we are all hankering for quality time spent with our nearest and dearest. We think this festive season deserves to be spent relaxing as much as possible, and we hope that this list has gone a little way to helping you do this. And remember, planning can be almost as much fun as entertaining too!