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The delicious, all-consuming aromas of holiday home cooking—honey baked ham, freshly roasted turkey, homemade pies and hot toddies—are something we dream about year-round.
Although the holidays bring us all together, sometimes there’s added stress of having everyone over and entertaining. Getting your home ready for the holidays can seem like a never ending to-do list, so we’ve put together our top items to help you stay on track and achieve the picture perfect home, even if it is just for a second!
Lighting Tips for the Holidays
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- Start with luxurious outdoor illumination. You will be astounded at the brilliant effects just a few landscape lights will generate. Dark sky-friendly path lighting safely guiding your guests to a home entrance adorned with stylish outdoor wall lanterns will provide the perfect introduction to the festivities inside!
- Maintain the flow. Keep the foyer clear and clutter-free—have a place to neatly store coats, bags and hostess gifts. Ensure that guests are greeted with soft ambient illumination. An overly lit foyer can be a big turn-off, so take care to cultivate foyer illumination that is glare-free and comfortable, but bright enough to secure a safe passageway for your guests.
You do want to make a statement with an outstanding foyer fixture, but you don’t want to bombard your guests with overly bright light. Choose a foyer fixture that is perfectly sized and paired with dimmable light sources.
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- Know when to flaunt it. Make food and holiday décor irresistibly enchanting with accent lighting over serving and dining areas. And, never underestimate the power of a magnificent chandelier in your formal dining room!
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- Be wary of the “buzz-killers.” Check out the light sources at mirrors around your home, including your guest bath or powder room, to ensure they provide flattering illumination.
Nothing will make your guests want to leave the party early more than looking in the mirror and seeing themselves with pasty complexions and bags under their eyes.
Overall, the primary purpose of holiday lighting and décor is to set the mood. With “light setting” control at our fingertips, the power to instantly infuse your guests with the holiday spirit is a snap.
Once you’ve finished up the house chores and it’s time to have everyone over, there’s a whole other list of tasks to tackle. Managing the holidays is similar to managing an event, there are so many moving pieces and items that need to get done, it’s easiest to break it down and address the guest list, menu and space one at a time. Keeping that in mind, we came up with our list of how to create a stress free holiday season!
Stress Free Holiday Entertaining Tips
- Make a List – I like to create two lists, one for everything that needs to get done, that is prioritized based on when it needs to happen and another list for the holiday menus, this let’s me think about grocery lists well in advance.
- Cook Ahead – this will make it easier for you the day of, allowing more time with friends and family.
- Stock Up and Keep Drinks on Hand – with holiday hours, the last thing you want is to realize you didn’t get enough of something and not be able to run out to get it, so be sure to stock up.
- Decorate – get all of your decorates and table settings complete well before the festivities. I especially like to get the table set a week to two weeks in advance if possible!
- Prepare Your Space – if you are having more people over than usual or are reworking your space to accommodate all of your guests, prepare your space by setting up the table, chairs, sitting area, etc. the weekend before. This will give you ample time to make any necessary changes to the setup of your home without having to scramble the day of to get it in place along with everything else you have to do.
- Keep it Clean – Leading up to a party, I like to do the major cleaning a week in advance and spot clean as I go along, making it more manageable the day before or day of.
- Gift Giving – If you are going to give gifts during this get together, make sure you’ve done your holiday shopping prior to the party, make sure it is wrapped and tagged well in advance and go through your guest list one last time to make sure you aren’t missing a gift for anyone!
Do you have a specific method you follow each year to make the holidays less stressful? Share your routines with us!