Are you hosting the big holiday dinner this year? The holidays are a mixed bag of stress and adventure. From pulling out luxury hotel bedding to set the guest room up just right, to testing out Grandma’s famous, homemade stuffing recipe (no one can make it quite like her). But you can reduce some of the chaos by planning ahead.
To get you started, consider four must-have line items for your holiday hosting checklist.
1. Who’s Coming to Dinner
A good host has all the answers; including what each guest can and can’t eat. The holiday table is usually covered with rich gravies and sweet treats. Do you know if any of your guests are diabetic? How about salt restrictions?
Your guests will certainly know what they should and shouldn't eat, but why not make it easier for them to resist with offerings they can have safely. For example, a diabetic can enjoy desserts made with a sugar substitute.
Not all food-related accidents are harmless, either. A person with a severe reaction to shellfish might get sick from chicken cooked in the same pan. Someone allergic to peanuts might have a reaction from some cooking oils. Be a good host and take the time to find out if anyone has special dietary needs.
2. Strategic Cleaning
If the cleaning duties seem overwhelming, consider focusing your attack on the areas where your guests will spend most of their time. You can do a general cleaning in the master bathroom and the kids’ rooms, and save the deep cleaning detail for the guest bath, bedroom, and living areas.
Before you start, create a cleaning kit with everything you need for each room:
- Cleaning products
- Dust cloths
- A feather duster
- A few clean rags
- Furniture polish
Go around and set out room specific things before you get started. You can have your nice linens out and ready so that when you do the guest room, you have everything you need.
Save the big tasks like vacuuming and mopping for last, so you can do all the rooms at once. This keeps you from having to move the vacuum cleaner around with you as you go.
Don’t be afraid to delegate some of the chores to your family, either. Even the little ones can handle a duster in the lesser used spaces. That way, all you have to do is give each room a final walk-through.
3. Stock up the Guest Areas
If you are going to the trouble of making the guest bed with your luxurious hotel bedding, why not add other luxury items, too? Put out travel sized shampoo and conditioner, extra toothbrushes, and a new tube of toothpaste. Add extra towels to the bath and put some extra guest blankets in the bedroom. Fill a gift basket with some local treats and sundries for a spa-like atmosphere.
4. Individual Assignments for the Big Day
Before the guests arrive, make sure everyone knows the game plan. Who is greeting them at the door? Who is setting the table? Whose job is it to get drinks for everyone? Start by sitting down on your own and making a list of everything that needs done that day. Make sure to include a quick touch up around the house, especially in the spare bedroom and guest bath.
Double-check your food supplies and assign one person to make emergency runs to the store, just in case. Once you have everything planned out, it is time for a family meeting. Hand out assignments, so each able body has at least one hosting responsibility.
You can also figure what can be done before the first guests arrive. Make a separate list of things that have to wait. The better you organize, the more time you have to relax with your guests.