Believe it or not, Christmas is just around the corner. The most wonderful time of the year is set to be wonderful this year: it’ll be the first time we can celebrate the holiday season with loved ones in a very long time. But along with the excitement comes the pressure to make this the ‘best Christmas ever’ - and if you’re hosting guests this year, you might already be feeling your stress levels rise.
Don’t worry: the key to hosting is to get started with your preparations early. And you never know - the idea of people staying in your home for the first time in a while might just give you the kick you need to do that long-overdue clear out...
Read on for our top 5 steps for prepping your house for Christmas guests.
It’s almost time to hang up those decorations, so make sure your house is spick-and-span before you get the ladder out. Once Christmas comes along, everyone will be caught up in Nativity costumes and office parties, so get the hard bit out of the way before your diary’s full. Go through your home methodologically, doing a deep clean of your bathroom, kitchen, bedroom and communal spaces. Don’t worry - you don’t have to do it all in one go. We recommend listing the rooms of your home and assigning each room to a different day. Breaking down the job helps you stay focused without getting overwhelmed. Sanitation is especially important this year, so make sure you’re paying particular attention to your door handles, kitchen surfaces and cupboard handles. Try out our eco-friendly all-purpose cleaner - you can use it everywhere from your stove to your tiles and anywhere sticky hands love to roam - so you won’t need to keep 100s of different products under the sink. This is also a good moment to clean your furniture, so make sure you spot-treat any stains on the couch, and throw those cushion covers in the wash (after checking they’re washing machine-friendly!).
One of the best things about Christmas is the smells. Give your guests a sensory treat by scenting your home using candles and incense, and you could even try your hand at making homemade potpourri. Assemble some dried orange slices, cinnamon sticks and herbs in a bowl, and leave it in the corner of your living room to fill your space with a natural Christmassy fragrance. And if you’re going to have kids in the house during the holiday season, you’ll need to be careful to avoid having dangerous cleaning products around. Play it safe by switching out your harsh detergents for an eco-friendly natural alternative like Colt and Willow. Bonus: you’ll replace the scent of chemicals with gentle herbal fragrances like geranium leaf, rhubarb and juniper berry.
Avoid the last-minute rush by washing your spare blankets, towels and bedding well in advance. Check what you’ve got at home, and make sure to let your guests know if you need them to bring their own towels. If you’re asking them to bring sleeping bags, consider making their stay a little more comfortable by providing them with some blankets and cushions. Remove covers and give them a wash to get them nice and fresh for your guests. Some cushion covers are washing-machine friendly, but make sure you take a look at the label before throwing it in. If not, you could wash them by hand, using warm water and a gentle soap. To avoid having bed sheets drying over every door when your guests arrive, make a list of what needs to be ready in time, and if you don’t need to use the bedding and towels in the meantime, start your laundry loads a week earlier. Once everything is prepared, you can put your feet up and relax before the doorbell rings.
The final - and most enjoyable! - step is to put up your decorations. Part of preparing your home for Christmas guests is creating a festive, welcoming environment in which to celebrate together. If you’ve got time and enjoy arts and crafts, try your hand at DIY decorations. We love these orange garlands (reuse the dried orange from the potpourri!) and these inventive tennis racket cross stitch decorations. If you’ve got a smaller home, Christmas decorations on every surface can feel a little cluttered and overwhelming - not to mention harder to keep clean during the festive period. Instead, consider hanging decorations from the walls. You could take a poster frame off the wall and hang stockings in its place for a few weeks, or you could wrap some (artificial) Christmas foliage around the bannister. There are endless ways to decorate your home for Christmas without cluttering, so get creative and ask the whole family to get involved.