Hosting during the holiday season can be highly rewarding. You bring together everyone you love under one roof to celebrate joy and happiness. But, as a host, it can also be an incredibly stressful experience, often taking away from the joy you want to be feeling.
Some of the most stressful parts of hosting are the “little” things—those unexpected moments that come up that you didn’t necessarily plan for. So how do you ready your home to expect the unexpected? How do you minimize hosting stress and maximize the fun?
Below you’ll find HomeRev’s 9 favorite party details that make a huge difference to the quality of your holiday party—and the happiness of the host!
As a host, there’s nothing worse than looking around the party and seeing condensation-ridden cups sitting tauntingly atop wooden coffee tables, hardwood floors, and—gulp—the white sofa. You see sticky spills sloshing out of those delicious peppermint cocktails. Your guests are enjoying their night, so you don’t want to ruin the fun by running around throwing coasters at people.
People may not realize to use a coaster unless they see it right in front of them. Have stacks of coasters throughout the house, near any spot where people might sit or put down their drink. Put out more than you need; it’s a lot easier to clean up coasters than it is to remove stains and rings.
You can even purchase recyclable custom coasters for an added detail to your party. People will be more likely to use your coasters if they realize they’re specifically designed for “The Smiths’ Jingle Bell Bash.”
Holiday parties tend to get hot. The body heat quickly makes it feel like the middle of July—and everyone is wearing heavy sweaters. People often want to cool down during the party, but they don’t want to go outside.
Designate a “cold area” in your home. Crack a nearby window to let in the fresh, cool air, which will circulate throughout your home. People can stand by the window for a blast of cool without weathering the winter weather.
You can make this “cold area” festive too, with winter wonderland decorations like snowflakes and throw blankets. This adds comfort to the entire house while providing a cool-down area for socializing.
It always feels like you’re running to and from the bedroom to get people’s coats and purses for them. Instead, create a coat area in the front room where people can have easier access to their items. Clear out a front closet for coats and provide quality hangers where people can hang their coats and bags. You can even buy or rent an inexpensive coatrack to put in the front room.
This ensures that people can get to their items when they need it without feeling they need to interrupt the host. They can also feel like they have better control over where their items are at all times. It saves time and provides peace of mind for host and guest alike!
Make cleanup a breeze with a separate soaking bucket. Fill a large, festive plastic bin with warm, soapy water. Keep it in the corner of the kitchen or near the sink (accessible but out of sight as much as possible). Throughout the party, you can place used dishes in the bucket to start soaking. At the end of the night or as you need more dishes, you can quickly rinse off the plates in just seconds.
A colorful and decorated bucket also looks more attractive than having the dishes piled up in the sink. Plus, you may need to use the sink throughout the night. If you have the soaking bin visible, you can have a sign for guests directing them to leave their dishes on the counter nearby. (Don’t make your guests reach into the soaking bucket and risk getting wet.)
You can purchase Chinese to-go boxes online or at a crafts store. This is an easy and creative way to give food to guests as they go home. No more scrambling to see who wants to bring home what. No more guests taking home your favorite Tupperware and never returning them.
After the meal, you can quickly pack portions of food in separate to-go boxes. With a marker or pen, label each box with the type of food inside. Then, lay them out on a counter or table. People can peruse and take home the boxes with the food that they want.
Prepare for guests staying over, even if they weren’t necessarily invited to do so beforehand. If someone drinks too much or stays too late, you’d rather have them stay the night than driving on the roads (allowing a drunk driver to leave your party can also be a liability for you).
Prepare your guest room with fresh sheets before the party, so you’re not scrambling to find clean linens at 3 am. You’ll also want to tidy the guest room (if you have one), as this tends to be the most unloved room when it comes to cleaning.
You may also want to have extra blankets and pillows ready for couch crashers or floor sleepers.
Make your own peppermint spray to keep your home smelling like the holidays throughout your party—and eliminate any lingering odors that might be hanging around. It can also cool down your air when the party starts to heat up. Keep the peppermint spray in the “cold area” so you can always find it—and your guests can use it to cool down as well.
Fill a small spray bottle with 1 cup of distilled water and 10-20 drops of peppermint spray. Shake well and spray on fabric or in the air. You can even use it on the back of your neck or chest to cool down as you’re running around. Prior to the party, keep the spray in the fridge for extra cooling and minty power.
Every year in our house, we forget one thing in the microwave. No more forgetting what you have to put out or make! Put out all the serving dishes you’ll be using, and label them for each type of food. This can help you stay organized throughout the night, and it will also show guests what they’re eating.
Plants will make your air fresher and clearer, which will add a clean ambiance to the holiday party. Festive plants are one of the healthiest and prettiest additions to any décor. From poinsettias to garland greenery, the smells and appearance will have your home welcoming guests instantly!
Also check out our tips for thanksgiving kitchen preparation—it applies to cleaning for the rest of the holiday season as well!
What fun details do you add to your party to make it easier and more festive? Let us know in the comments below!