It’s amazing how quickly the holidays come after the new school year begins. For a couple years, it crept up on me, and I found myself rushing through the final phases of it. It wasn’t just the shopping, but also food preparation, cleaning the house, wrapping the gifts, and putting out milk and cookies for Santa. My children have changed that for me.
I am sure my children are no different than most, but their excitement typically begins the day after Halloween. This year, my youngest asked on the way home from trick or treating, “When is Christmas Mom?” I even noticed Christmas music playing on the radio…yes, when November was technically still the ‘future’.
Soon our family, friends, and co-workers will be stopping by with goodies and Season’s Greetings. In fact, in just a few short weeks, which will quickly migrate into days, I will be hosting an annual Christmas party in our home. Some of the guests will stay overnight, with a couple staying right through Christmas.
A couple years ago I discovered that the best holiday season was one that was organized and healthy. So, I organized a plan to prepare for the holidays and now follow that through each year.
Holiday Home Preparation Tips
The first thing I do is some spring cleaning, in the fall. I call it my ‘spring-into-action-cleaning. Many people suffer with allergies, in addition to it being the cold and flu season. So, I do my part to make sure the home is as clean as possible. I also have on hand OTC cold medicine and plenty of anti-bacterial soaps.
Here is my standard cleaning list of what I tackle in preparation for the holiday season:
1. Carpets. I use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter system. These are wonderful for homes with allergies from dust, pets, and various allergens, which is most homes.
2. Air ducts. If it’s been a particularly bad year for allergies, I schedule someone to come out to clean the air duct system. Otherwise, I have it done every other year. I usually find a great coupon for a good deal, and it also seems to help with cutting cost for the heating and cooling.
3. Dusting. I step up my dusting duties, by dusting more often. It’s also a good time to pay extra attention to the window sills and blinds, and any other item that is a dust collector.
4. Fireplace. I have the chimney ‘swept’ each year, weeks before I want to use it the first time. This way they can check for problems ahead of time.
Pamper your Guests with a Specially Prepared Guest Room
An air purifier works well in a guest room for two reasons. Obviously, it helps with allergies. But, it also creates ‘white noise’, which can help a guest drown out the small noises of your house, which they are not accustomed to hearing in their own home.
I also like to have a small collection of hypoallergenic toiletries available for each guest, just in case they forgot to pack an item from home. You can get small travel sizes and place them in a decorative basket or bowl, which could double as a Christmas decoration for their room.
And finally, I like to gently decorate the room for the holiday as well. A nice glass bowl with colorful ornaments will look lovely on the dresser next to a couple flameless candles, and a couple Christmas towels. It provides a bit of ambience, as well as soft lighting.
Tips for Decking the Halls in Harmony
This is my favorite part of the holiday, and it typically takes me weeks to get it just right. Therefore, I start the day after Thanksgiving by turning on some of our favorite Christmas music while we put the tree up.
I pull out all the Christmas CD’s and videos, and place them in a decorative basket to help keep them handy, and look good while sitting there. From there, the rest of the decorating continues with wreathes, the village on the fireplace mantle, garland wrapped around the staircases, and of course…the stockings.
Tips for Festivities Filled with Food and Fun
I think the average weight gain for most people through the holiday season is 7lbs. That’s a lot, but then there’s a lot of food…and I contribute to that. I love to cook, especially for a holiday party or gathering.
The key to a successful dinner, or party filled with scrumptious appetizers and beverages, is to plan the menu weeks ahead of time. I find that I can get the best deals on the non-perishables that way as well.
Coupons are as abundant around the holidays as the multitude of lights you see. I start looking for them, as well as good buys at the store, right away. By keeping an organized area in the garage, with sealed containers, I am able to save money, as well as avoid hectic last minute trips to the store.
While preparing for the festivities, I get help from my family to clean up gaming devices and board games, so they are ready to go.
Organization goes a long way in enjoying the holiday season, as well as saving money.
How To Prepare for the Holidays- In Closing
I have to admit, I have been listening to my favorite Christmas music while writing this article. It’s certainly going to come in a hurry, and I am now just as excited for it as my kids were the night of Halloween.
I hope I have been able to give you a couple tips to make your holiday season a joyous and healthy one. At the very least, I hope I was able to spark your festive side. I’ll leave you with a quote I read, which I feel applies now, and throughout the year…
There are two ways of spreading light: “To be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it.” – Edith Wharton
Season’s Greetings from our house, to yours! I hope you found these holiday preparation tips useful.