The holiday season is right around the corner, and with it comes the yearly task of Christmas preparation. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but all of that magic and wonder takes a great deal of planning to pull off.
Over 100 million people travel for the holidays, which means millions of people hosting Christmas guests across the country every year.
That said, whether you plan to have extended family and friends at your home or not, there are a few things you need to do when getting ready for the holidays. With proper preparation, you can take all of the stress out of Christmas and focus on spending quality time with those you love most.
Make a List (and Check It Twice)
In any preparation process, the first step is to make a list and ensure it’s exhaustive. Include everything you need to do between now and the big day.
Write down what gift you plan to get each person, as well as how much each gift will cost, and where you will get it. Take inventory of your decorations and record anything that needs to be replaced and any new pieces you want to add.
List the dishes you’ll be preparing on Christmas day and the ingredients you’ll need for each. If you’re going to be hosting guests, expand this part of the list to include the meals you’ll be having for the entirety of their stay.
It’s a good idea to have this list on a smartphone or in a planner that you carry with you. You want to be able to add things as you think of them.
Declutter and Clean
Even if you’re not expecting company, completing a deep clean and declutter of your home before the holidays will help you enjoy the season more. Clutter puts a huge strain on your mental health. And when you’re busy hanging stockings and baking cookies, the last thing you want is to feel stressed or anxious.
Though you should go through the cleaning and decluttering process in every room of your home, be sure to put a special focus on the kitchen. Because preparing for Christmas typically involves a great deal of cooking and baking, you want your kitchen to be as neat and tidy as possible.
As you do so, check that all of your appliances are in good working order and that you have plenty of room in the freezer and refrigerator for food prep and leftovers.
Arrange Your Celebration Space
Once you have everything clean and organized, it’s time to arrange your celebration space. Even if you have Christmas decorations here and there throughout your entire home, you need to have a designated space where the festivities will take place.
This area should include your Christmas tree, stockings, and any special decorations, such as a giant nutcracker or nativity scene.
Make this space cozy and welcoming by lighting holiday scented candles or diffusing festive essential oils. Just take care to check with your guests beforehand, as some people have a sensitivity to certain oils.
Last, lay a throw blanket or two over your couches. After all, nothing goes better with a mug of hot chocolate than a warm blanket.
Set Up the Christmas Tree
The centerpiece of your celebration space is, of course, the Christmas tree. There are two options with Christmas trees: real and artificial.
A real tree will fill your home with a natural holiday scent. An artificial tree will work just as well, but consider using a fir scented candle nearby to give the illusion of the real thing.
Your ornaments and lights are completely up to you. Your tree might be an eclectic masterpiece, full of ornaments you’ve collected over the years. Or, it could fit a specific design, with matching ornaments and lights.
Either way, it’s a good idea to check that all of your lights work and that none of your ornaments are broken before getting too far into the tree decorating process.
Don’t Forget the Exterior
The outside of your home shouldn’t be at the top of your to-do list, but nothing is quite as welcoming as a cheerfully decorated entryway. Hang a wreath that matches your decor style, drape holiday lights around the porch, and wrap garlands around posts and railings.
Before you put up the decorations, however, don’t forget to give the outside of your home a quick clean. Hose off the front door, sweep away the cobwebs, and blow any debris off the driveway and walkways.
Lay a festive welcome mat out as well. It will not only add to the decor but will also keep your clean floors safe from potential tracked in dirt.
Ask for Help
Just because you’re the host doesn’t mean you have to do everything yourself! Don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether it be from those living in your house with you, those traveling to stay with you, or both.
Everyone should chip in a little, even the kids. Though you might not be able to trust them with the more delicate decorations or detailed cleaning tasks, put them to work helping out where they can.
You’re Ready to Tackle Christmas Preparation Like a Pro
Yes, a lot goes into Christmas preparation, but you’ll thank yourself when your family talks about how wonderful this holiday was for years to come.
And when you can sit back and relax on Christmas day because you got all of the work out of the way beforehand, you’ll know it was worth the effort!
Looking for more tips on holiday hosting and decor? Check out our blog!