Home For The Holidays

It’s not uncommon for the most wonderful time of the year to stress us out. There’s usually so much to plan and organize around the holiday season that it can be very overwhelming. That’s especially true if you’ve just recently moved into a new home. Not only are you unpacking and settling into your new spaces, you’re figuring out a new holiday celebration dynamic and atmosphere. But no matter your situation, in a new home or one that’s familiar and comfortable, there are ways to ease holiday pressures.

New homeowners are understandably excited to host family and friends for holiday gatherings. It’s fun to show off your home and discover new ways to decorate. If you’re not yet completely unpacked, focus on a few priorities that will prep the house for guests.

Keep boxes out of sight of the rooms that your visitors will see. Set up the kitchen and bathrooms, unpack linens and towels, and make up the beds. That doesn’t mean everything has to be perfect, but as long as everything has a place, empty those boxes and find a spot to store the ones you are not ready to unpack yet.

new home holidays

No need to go overboard on decorations if lack of time poses a challenge – keep everything simple and affordable. String lights create a warm, inviting, and cozy mood during the holidays. Fresh evergreens brighten up spaces throughout the house as well. Drape garland across banisters and the mantle. You can make a table runner out of it or nice centerpieces that can be accented with glittering ornaments. A wreath on the front door or a spot on a wall in a common room will add another festive touch. Look around at the various surfaces in your home and choose subtle accents to display: snow globes, miniature trees, candles, or individual ornaments not hung on the tree. Don’t forget poinsettias! A few in pots strategically placed on the porch or inside — out of reach of your pets! — provides a touch of holiday color.

Whether you’re hosting a party or just a few friends or relatives for a small dinner, you can plan a stress-free holiday menu so that you can relax while enjoying the festivities. Cook and prep as much as you can ahead of time. Soups and stews are great for warming up to feed a crowd. You also can offer a majority of finger foods; fewer utensils means less to clean up later. Keep snacks on hand that can be replenished as needed and don’t require temperature control, such as cookies, crackers, nuts, flavored popcorn, hummus, or bruschetta with crostini. Avoid the pressure of creating individual cocktails. Try a punch or other festive drink you can make in batches for guests to serve themselves. Everything you serve does not need to be homemade or cooked from scratch. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of store-bought options to make life easier.

If the idea of a houseful of guests all at once makes you nervous, try an open house format, welcoming your friends and family to come and go during a range of hours on a particular day. That can help with traffic flow and works well if you have several small dishes to serve at different times, buffet style, instead of one main course that you might run out of.

Most of all, this holiday season, try to remember that it’s okay if you don’t do it all. You can jam your calendar with any number of events or obligations every day and evening, but that’s when the fun turns stressful. Pick just a few things for you and your family to enjoy and maybe create a new tradition or two that you can look forward to. But the extra “free” time you save by limiting the activities you commit to will allow you to appreciate relaxing in your own home. You can also check more things off your holiday to-do list, such as shopping, gift wrapping, baking, and watching your favorite holiday movies without feeling rushed.  

Let us know what you think best makes a home for the holidays. All the best in 2024 from our family to yours!