Holiday Visitor Prep: 5 Tasks to Cross off Your To-Do List ASAP

by Jessica ThiefelsDecember 8, 2017

Hosting for the holidays can be an expensive and timely endeavor, from investing in new sheets and blankets to prepping dinners and cleaning the house. At a time of year when you’re already stressed, hosting for the holidays can quickly put you over the edge — but it doesn’t have to. Here are five tasks to do before your holiday visitors arrive to reduce how much time and money you need to spend. When you get everything out of the way now, you’ll be greeting visitors with a smile on your face.
A group of people enjoying a holiday party.

Start Borrowing Now

Borrowing from friends and family is a great way to spend less and make your visitors feel at home. It’s also something you can do early and check off the to-do list before chaos sets in. In the Holidays 2017: The Survival Guide for Hosting on a Budget survey, respondents said the top three items they borrow to save money are:

  • Table and chairs: 48 percent
  • Mattresses/inflatable beds: 17 percent
  • Dishware: 13 percent

Take stock of what you have and what you need and then reach out to close friends, family, and neighbors and start gathering what you can.

Prep for Food Allergie

Instead of ordering a last-minute pizza or spending an extra 20 minutes making a new meal, create a list of your guests’ food allergies now. Not only will guests feel bad if you have to make a last-minute dinner change, but you’ll be stressed and have less time to spend with everyone.

Once you have your list, turn to a resource like Cooking For Guests With Food Allergies from the Food Network. “With a little creativity, you can effortlessly tweak your traditional holiday menu into an allergy-friendly spread. From appetizers to desserts, these helpful hints will make your holiday affair one to remember — for everyone at your holiday table,” says Amie Valpone, Food Network contributor. Use Valpone’s suggestions to cook delicious holiday meals that satisfy everyone.

Create and Stock a Beverage Station

One thing you can guarantee your guests will need is plenty of beverages. Make it easy for them to get the drinks they need with a bar cart — making both yours and your guests’ lives easier. When everyone can help themselves, there’s less on your plate and extra peace of mind knowing they have what they need. Don’t forget an under 21 “bar cart” for the kids, where you can stock juice boxes, eggnog, water, and other kid-friendly drinks.

Slowly add mixers, liquor, wine, and beer in the weeks leading up to the holidays, allowing you to take advantage of pre-holiday sales and deals, rather than paying top dollar at the last minute. If you’re doing BYOB, guests can also put their beverages right into the bar cart rather than digging through your fridge to find a spot or cluttering up the countertops.

Use these ideas from Decoist to turn a boring beverage station into a festive bar cart like the one below.
A festive bar cart with holly and pine.

Stock a “Guest Cart”

This extra touch will surprise and delight your holiday guests: a cart in the guest room (or bathroom) with everything they need for a comfortable stay. Alexis Hobbs, a contributor at Woman’s Day, suggests stocking your cart with the following items:

  • Toothbrushes
  • Soap
  • Shampoo and shower gel
  • Pain relievers
  • Toothpaste
  • Lotion
  • Makeup-removing wipes
  • Scented candle or flowers
  • Mouthwash
  • Disposable razors
  • Floss
  • Water bottles
  • Fresh fruit
  • Towels
  • Snacks

Not all of these are necessary, so focus on the items guests may not be able to bring on a plane, or may not have thought to pack. Most of these items can be found at your local dollar store, grab them there rather than spending full-price at grocery and drug stores. You may be shocked at how much you can save when you don’t buy brand name items.
Colorful toiletries plastic bottles in retail store shelves.

Make Extra Space

Guests will have coats, sweaters, boots, and potentially even outdoor winter gear and extra pairs of shoes. Make sure they have room to keep all of this in the house comfortably without creating extra clutter, which will stress you out and make them feel bad.

Take a walk around the house to figure out where you can make more space. Perhaps there’s already a coat rack and entrance area that could use a few extra storage bins, or an empty corner where you can add new storage and hooks.

Don’t forget about making space in the guest room for their luggage and clothing. If need-be, head to Goodwill to find an inexpensive dresser or set of drawers that guests can use as needed. You can donate it back or sell it when you’re done. Better yet, store it away for next year so you’ll have one less thing to do.

Get Ready to Host

Whether you’re ready or not, your guests are coming. Use these weeks leading up to the holiday to get items checked off your list. You’ll be less stressed and enjoy their stay with greater peace of mind when you’re ready for them when they walk through your door.

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About The Author
Jessica Thiefels
Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years. She is currently a lifestyle blogger and the editor of Whooo’s Reading and Carpe Daily. When she's not writing or editing, she's trying new DIY projects around the house or training fitness clients. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07.

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