This time of the year is often stressful for families. Even under the most ordinary of circumstances, getting ready for the holiday season can put a mental and financial strain on us. If you have just moved into a new home or finished remodeling, the challenge to settle in and enjoy celebrations with family and friends is even more difficult. We found some tips for simplifying the process of unpacking, organizing, and putting home life back together for a seamless holiday.
Let’s start with unpacking. Whether all of your worldly possessions are boxed up or you only need to reorganize a few rooms after items were displaced during a renovation, this task takes some planning. Don’t empty every box until you have a place to put things, but methodically work from room to room. Prioritize the bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchen. Make sure the beds are made, especially if you have guests coming to stay. Unpack your toiletries, hang up the shower curtain, and stack towels in the linen closet. Put dishes, silverware, and pots and pans away. Plug in the basic small appliances you’ll be using right away, such as the coffee maker and toaster.
Focus on a small project (or two or three). We all have those seemingly never-ending to-do lists and goals for home improvement. But it’s probably unreasonable to think you’ll get many of them completed in the middle of the holiday frenzy. Spend the next few weeks and weekends, a few hours at a time, doing a little more to settle in. Hang pictures and artwork, put up the window treatments and shelves, and place photos around to make the home more personal. You might even have time to paint the guest bathroom to cover that color you despise. Set a goal to finish those projects at least a few days before guests are scheduled to show up. That way you can avoid doing any major chores at the same time you’re trying to prep holiday meals.
Next, think about easy ways to decorate. If you just don’t have the time, money or energy to think about outdoor lights for your new home, a simple wreath or festive bow on the front door and poinsettias on the porch can do the trick. Inside, a glass bowl filled with colorful and sparkling ball ornaments makes a great centerpiece. Twinkle lights across the mantle create a warm vibe. If holiday cards from friends and loved ones have found their way to your new address, display them with clothespins along a length of string to make fun holiday decor.
Stock up on essentials! Toilet paper, paper towels, trash bags, dish detergent… Think of all the things you don’t want to run out of or go looking for in the middle of eating or cleaning up a holiday meal. Make sure you have your meat thermometer and any of your other cooking utensils handy and ready to use.
When it comes to hosting holiday gatherings in a new home, keep it simple. Don’t experiment with new recipes — stick with what you know. And if your invited guests offer to bring something, let them! Even an item or two you can cross off your own shopping list, such as wine or beer, extra ice, or a pie can go a long way to lower your stress level.
Above all, don’t seek perfection. Welcome your loved ones with open arms, enjoy your new home and the company. Happy holidays to you and yours!