Prepare for the Festivities

What day is it?  It’s that time of year again?  I’m not ready…

Whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah or the yearly descent of your Snow Bird relatives, ready or not, it’s time for the festivities. And if you haven’t steeled yourself for the activities ahead, then there is no time like the present.  Here are some tips that will help you breeze into the upcoming season with style and grace:

Organize your mind:

  • Plan your menus and work to accomplish as much in advance as possible. For example:  Make your salad dressings, and spice rubs ahead of time. Other items such as homemade broths and cookie doughs can be made now and put in the freezer for when you need them.
  • Make your shopping lists well in advance.
  • Stock your pantry with the staples needed to entertain lots of guests. For example: bottled water, sodas, chips, crackers, nuts and dried fruit.
  • Stock up on wine and bar supplies before guests arrive. And here’s a party tip: Choose a signature drink that you can make in advance and serve from a lovely pitcher. This will also help you to avoid getting stuck behind the bar so you can enjoy mingling with your guests.

Remember—organization, careful planning, and advanced preparation will not only help your guests enjoy the festivities, but you will be less stressed and better able to enjoy them too.

  • If possible, take the time to finish any projects that are still pending so that, when your house is filled with guests, you can be present, enjoy every moment, and have fabulous conversations. Otherwise you may find yourself revisiting the same exchange with your mother-in-law from last year, “You still haven’t fixed that?”

Think details and WOW your guests with your thoughtfulness:

  • Fresh pressed linens and towels folded with care;
  • Fresh flowers;
  • A water carafe next to their bed;
  • A bottle of wine and two glasses in their room;
  • Linen spray, eye masks, and ear plugs at the ready;
  • A diffuser and a high quality lavender oil;
  • Provide every toiletry they could possibly need;
  • And of course—the Wifi password.
  • Some things scream ‘I love you’ and other things…not so much.  Determine what’s really important and do that.  But whatever you decide to do, do it really well.

To reduce your stress even further:

  • In reality, nobody has time to wrap gifts, so take advantage of gift wrapping services when you are purchasing gifts.
  • Also, buy the pie…UNLESS you make the best pie…then make the pie.

Make your home festive by creating an atmosphere of celebration. Try to stimulate all five senses.

For example:

  • Use lighting, smells, and tastes to create a feeling of warmth, affection, and nostalgia.
  • Use textures, such as cashmere throws, faux fur pillows, and layers of white accents to calm the eyes and help everyone to relax.
  • Play music throughout your home at the perfect volume to encourage conversation, but still know they are at a party. Have your music playlist ready. Or if you prefer using an internet radio station, you may want to consider upgrading so your evening is not interrupted by commercials.

All of these ideas are meant to help you and your guests enjoy the coming months. Don’t run yourself ragged. By preparing thoughtfully, using your imagination, and expressing love through the details you will not only be the most charming hostess ever but you will also truly be able to enjoy the entertaining season.

You’ve got this!