From entertaining and gift giving to welcoming out-of-town guests, the holidays come with a big to-do list. With everything you need to accomplish, it’s not unusual to feel frazzled or overwhelmed. Fortunately, a little advanced preparation can help prevent much of the stress. If you’re getting ready for the holidays, follow some of these holiday tips for a season that’s both stress-free and enjoyable.
Create a Master Calendar
With pageants, parties, and family get-togethers, the holiday season is a busy time. To prevent overscheduling and ease the burden of trying to remember it all, add all your important activities and events to a master calendar. Keep the calendar handy so you can check your availability on a moment’s notice.
Focus on the Entryway
It’s tempting to go overboard with holiday décor, but if you don’t have the time or inclination to decorate the whole house, put your focus on the entryway instead. Add a nice seasonal wreath to the front door, and make sure the porch and its pathways are well lit for your guests.
Check Your Appliances
There’s nothing worse than suffering an appliance breakdown in the midst of entertaining. Inspect your major kitchen appliances to make sure they aren’t on the brink of a malfunction. If you’ve got an oven that doesn’t heat correctly or a stovetop burner that doesn’t work, then now’s the time to call a repairman.
You want to present a clean, welcoming space for overnight guests, so it’s time to clear out the clutter that’s accumulated in the spare bedroom. Go through what you no longer need, and bring unwanted items to your local donation center. No time for a deep clean? Throw clutter in a laundry basket and stash in a closet when guests arrive.
Don’t wait until the last minute to do your shopping. Make a list of everyone you’ll need to buy for, and keep your eyes peeled months in advance — you never know when you’ll happen upon the perfect gift. Once you’ve got your list and your budget in place, you can also take advantage of Cyber Monday and other online sales to avoid the crowds altogether.
Bake Ahead of Time
When you don’t have any free time, holiday baking quickly becomes a chore rather than a fun activity. To lessen the stress of having sweet treats for your guests, bake things like unfrosted cookies and nut breads ahead of time. Then wrap them well and pop them in the freezer.
Prepare the Kitchen
You spend a lot of time in the kitchen during the holidays, so it helps to have things in top shape before the season starts. Sharpen your knives, polish silver, and wash off your china well before guests arrive.
If you’re hosting a holiday meal or welcoming out-of-town guests, you want your home to be ready. To make guests comfortable, freshen your spare sheets and towels, iron linens, and stock the spare bedroom with bottled water and snacks.
Get Documents in Order
If you’re flying anywhere for the holiday season, get your airline tickets as soon as possible. If you’ll need passports, it’s never too early to cross them off your to-do list. Print out all the paperwork you need, and keep it together for easy access.
Schedule Some TLC for Yourself
Whether it’s a 20-minute walk, a warm bath, a relaxing mani-pedi, or a spa treatment, remember to take some time for yourself amid all the holiday commotion. Add this relaxation break right into your master schedule, so you aren’t tempted to skip it for errands or to-dos.
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