Six Steps to a Simply Smarter Holiday Season

by Holly UttNovember 16, 2018

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or this is your first time hosting a big holiday dinner, we all need a few tips and checklists to make the day run as smoothly as possible. (That’s the hope, right?) Never fear, your friends at Homes.com are here to save the day! Cross each box off the checklist, and you’re on the way to hosting you most effortless gathering yet.

Make a Great First Impression

You know that old saying, “you never get a second chance at a first impression?” The same applies to your curb appeal and just how inviting your front porch is for your guests. Sweep away any accumulated debris, leaves, or snow to create a safe and tidy entryway. Speaking of safety, now is a great time to change your front porch light to illuminate the pathway. If you have a screen door, wipe it down so it’s crystal clear. Depending on how much time you have, wipe down the door itself to remove any dust or dirt, and maybe add a fresh coat of paint. For an extra dose of sparkle and holiday cheer, nothing beats a festive wreath as the cherry on top!

The Essentials


The kitchen is the center of the holiday meal; it’s important to take a few days before your celebration to ensure everything is in good working order. You don’t want any surprises like an inconsistent oven ruining the meal you worked hard on, now would you? Not sure how to check your oven? According to CNET, begin by preheating your oven to 350F and place an oven-safe thermometer in the center of the middle rack. Check and record the temperature on the thermometer (use oven mitts, please) every twenty minutes for two hours. At the end of the test, find the average temperature by tallying up the total and dividing it by the number of times you checked the reading. The number should be close to 350. If not, call a repair technician.

De-Clutter and Set Up

Once you determine the foundation of your meal is in good working order, it’s time to plan and organize! (We promise this part is actually one of the most fun!) If you typically keep appliances or other devices on your countertops, remove and store them away in another location; you’re going to need the extra room for preparing (and potentially serving) your guests. Once you have a clean work area, locate a place like a buffet or a sideboard to hold your finished drinks as well as food for serving.

Tip: Set up the table ahead of time to save time on the big day. Plus, it’s an added decor piece that will delight your guests when they arrive! For more inspiration, check out the Homes.com Holiday Entertaining Guide!

The Electrical Part

Nothing is going to put a damper on your holiday feast quite like a few blown circuits throughout the day. Trust me, I’ve been there, it’s not fun. So let’s be smart. Before your celebration, ensure your circuits can handle the extra pull of energy. Another option may be to run extension cords from your small appliances to other rooms that aren’t using power to help prevent an overload.

If a circuit does get overloaded, don’t panic! You can reset that bad boy from the electrical panel. Unplug the affected devices, then flip the affected switch back into the “on” position. Piece of cake!

Clean Out the Pantry, Then Grocery Shop

Trust us, there’s a method to the madness, and this ensures you won’t make 34,398,754 trips to the grocery store during the holidays. The first step? Plan your menu, then assess what ingredients you need to make it happen. Once you have that, head to the pantry to identify what you already have so you don’t waste time or money purchasing duplicates. While in the pantry, take the time to clean and organize. Identify any expired items and remove them and group like-items together so you can quickly find the contents of your pantry with ease!

For more tips and tricks to thriving during the holidays, download our Home for the Holidays Guide! Happy holidays, y’all!

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About The Author
Holly Utt
Living the millennial life with my husband and Wheaten Terrier in beautiful Virginia. Documenting my life on Instagram, and ready to talk all things Social Media at a moment's notice.