Getting our home ready for holiday guests is probably one of the most stressful things about the season. Even though the holiday season doesn’t officially start for another few weeks, doing these five things now will save you a lot of headaches later!
Every year, the same thing happens. My mom, who lives with me, goes on a crazy cleaning spree before our annual holiday party. I’m talking “pass white glove inspection” crazy. Then she’s too tired to enjoy the actual party. Yes, we all help her, but there are some things that only she can do “right,” lol, so she ends up doing the bulk of it…or redoing what we did wrong. This year, we’ll do as much as we can in advance so the week of the party isn’t quite so stressful. Here are my tips for getting your home ready for all of your holiday guests!
How to Get Your Home Ready for Holiday Guests
*Affiliate links included below. If you click through the link and make a purchase, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I also received the Snuggle-Pedic Bamboo pillow mentioned below free in exchange for sharing it with you. As usual, all opinions are my own.
1. Do one major clean now, then touch up throughout the season
Rather than going absolutely crazy trying to clean your whole house from top to bottom two days before guests arrive, do you major clean now. Take your time and do a little each day if you have to, or knock it out all at once if that’s your thing. Once you’re done, institute a strict family rule that everyone has to help touch up throughout the season. That means no piles of dirty dishes in your tween’s room, no mountains of laundry piled up on your floor, and no tossing junk mail all over the counter for weeks.
If your kids are as messy as my son, you might want to consider either setting up a reward system for keeping the house clean or a demerit system for making it dirty, depending on what works best with your kids. With Jake, I will purposely wait until he’s in the middle of a game to walk in and say “okay, clean up right now!” Mean? Maybe, but with him, that’s what it takes.
2. Plan your menus in advance
Talk to your guests ahead of time and find out if anyone has any allergies or is on any sort of weird fad diet (which is highly likely these days). My brother thought he had celiac disease for a while, so he wasn’t eating gluten. Turns out he was wrong, but now he’s on a low-carb diet for some reason. My aunt actually DOES have celiac disease and legitimately can’t tolerate gluten. My mom is allergic to honey. My nephew only eats chicken nuggets (he’s not even 2 yet). My son is just plain picky. My husband won’t eat anything that didn’t have a heartbeat once, while I won’t eat anything with four legs. I know our family can’t be the only one with a bunch of different types of eaters!
If you find out what everyone is eating or avoiding now, you won’t have that moment of panic when you realize that everything you’re making has gluten in it, leaving your aunt starving throughout the whole party. While you’re at it, plan your table setting, too! Decide on a color scheme and the little extras, then shop the sales to grab what you need.
3. Replace your old linens and pillows
While you might be able to get away with just giving your older linens a really good washing in some sort of fabric-revitalizing detergent, you definitely want to take a good, hard look at your pillows…and what’s inside them. You want your sleep-over guests to actually sleep, right? Old pillows are a magnet for dust, dander, and other gross stuff (skin flakes, anyone?). Again, you’ll want to chat with your guests about any particular allergies or physical health problems they may have. I have neck problems, so I need a pillow that has the right combination of firmness and give. I can’t stand down pillows because my head always sinks right through them. I feel like they are kind of pointless, like you’re not even sleeping on a pillow at all.
I’ve been checking out the Snuggle-Pedic bamboo pillow for a little over a month now, and so far I really love it. It supports my head and neck without going flat, yet it still has plenty of give so I don’t feel like I’m sleeping on a rock. The foam that they use inside it is a special proprietary blend of “hypo-allergenic and extremely low V.O.C. Biogreen® memory foam and CertiPUR-US® certified foam.” I don’t know what that means, but it sure is comfy! Even my son can fall asleep fast on it!
A few really cool things to mention about the Snuggle-Pedic. First: it’s completely washable and even gets softer with each wash. Second, it’s totally customizable. I loved mine right out of the package, but if it’s not firm enough, they’ll send you free foam to add to it. Plus, they offer a money-back guarantee, so if you don’t love it, you can send it back for a full refund. The memory foam is super breathable so it doesn’t leave you feeling all hot-headed in your dreams. I would totally feel good about putting this pillow in your guest room! Check it out on Amazon and grab a few extras so you always have the perfect pillow on hand for those surprise sleep-over guests!
4. Create a soothing sleep environment
Want to make sure your guests are super comfy? Spend a night in their shoes! Seriously! Set up the guest room the way you would for company, then hit the hay and evaluate your sleep experience. Even if your guest room is right next door to yours, you’d be amazed at how different your house is from room to room. My son’s bedroom, for example, is either blazing hot or freezing cold, so I constantly have to change this thermostat. One of the windows in my room faces out towards a big tree that constantly drops its acorns and what not, making annoying pinging noises all night. My mom’s room faces out onto the street, which is usually quiet…except at 6AM when the garbage trucks come. There are only like five houses in my cul de sac, but every single one uses a different waste management services.
Once you’ve identified the rooms’ weaknesses, you can do little things now to fix them for later. Like, if the room gets cold at night, add an extra blanket to the bed. If you can clearly hear the downstairs TV through the floor, add in a white noise machine or a fan. Nose feel dry the next morning? Set up a small humidifier. You can find super stylish and cute ones these days! I’ve always been partial to Crane humidifiers (we’ve had the puppy one for years), but just search on Amazon and you’ll find the perfect one for your guest room decor. Here are a few that I love:
5. Add the special touches
Now that you know you have your home mostly guest-ready, it’s time to add a few little special touches. Stock up your guest bathroom. Forget the fancy shaped hand soaps. You’ll just stress out your guests as they try to figure out whether they should use them or leave them as decoration! Instead, grab the things you just know they’ll forget, like conditioner, hand lotion, or those little loofah things for in the shower. Stick with unscented lotions (in case of allergies), but add a decorative holiday label to everything to pull it all together. While you don’t have to rush out and get everything right away, deciding on what extra little things you want to do now will save you time and money later. You can scope out sales, get together any craft supplies you need (if you’re making custom labels, for example) and build your stash of emergency guest supplies over the next few weeks instead of two days before they arrive.