December 5th, 2016
There are countless intimidating elements to owning a home: renovations, upkeep, extensions. flooding, insulation, pipework. repainting, re-flooring, reupholstering. For every moment of comfort and excitement, there can be so many more of stress and endless planning. But there is a specially intimidating element, that comes especially just once a year: holiday guests. You love your home, and want everyone you love to love it as well. But beyond basic survival of the season, there’s the struggle of living your life this most hectic time of year, while also creating an environment in which your guests can enjoy the full experience of life within your home. The beautiful people you care for most can exemplify the best of the season’s merry spirit, with just a few planning tricks.
You’re one month out from the wonderfully thrilling arrival of your favorite people. Too often, this becomes a time of complacency and vague planning, making for a time of extreme panic roughly a month later. Instead, enjoy this as an opportunity to truly create the relaxing, warm experience you want your guests to have, down to the last really “you” detail. There are of course the basics – provide plenty of fresh towels and washcloths, clean out guest room drawers, choose a lovely candle – but there’s an enchanting opportunity to create a more specific atmosphere. Re-imagine your bar cart, revisit your throw pillows, reconsider the book and magazine collection you lay out by your guest’s bedside. These thoughts are almost always left to the very last minute, becoming an afterthought rather than a thoughtful act of mindfulness. In allowing yourself to plan early, you can further allow yourself to genuinely enjoy time with your guests, rather than fretting during their whole visit.
You have one week of preparation to plan and procure before your beloved people arrive. Traditionally, this is the final chance to reach out to guests about food requests, special sleeping arrangements, and all things to do with living comfortably. But it can also become your last time to calmly fix and fuss before things kick into high gear. Walk through your home; is anything worn out, or out of place? Are bulbs burnt, sheets threadbare? Your sense of smell becomes dulled to your own home; have you recently scrubbed, washed, and changed appliances, disposals, and points of constant use? It may be a pain now, but your guests’ comfort and ease will thank you later – as will you thank yourself after this massive sweep!
Your guests arrive one day from now, leaving no time to make your home the perfection of your dreams. Yet that doesn’t mean it’s game over. Of course, there may be nothing more infuriating to hear, but nothing more true when it comes to hosting: it’s all in the details. But details don’t mean only the time-consuming crafts of wedding favors or renovations that take entire summers. For this, consider another overused phrase, especially when time is short: first impressions. Everything from sweeping the front porch, cleaning the door plates, and clearing out the front hall of that pile of personal belongings will impact your guests perception of your home. Fluff the living room pillows, wipe down all the surfaces, hide all those papers living on the kitchen table in a bag, and let the fun take over.
Be they preparations an hour, a day, a week, or a month ahead of time, your guests are worth the planning of all that time – just like your home is worth being shown to its best advantage. But most importantly, your own sanity and enjoyment of time with your guests is worth the most of anything and all, at any time of the year – and the beauty of the holiday season should remain absolutely a beauty.