The No-Stress Guide to Holiday Hosting

Take the hassle out of the holidays with these decorating and hosting tips.

The most wonderful time of the year can also be the most stressful. Don’t fret…we’ve got you covered. Our No-Stress Guide to Holiday Hosting will make your holidays a breeze so you can relax and enjoy the season in comfort with the ones you love.

Step 1: For Easy Decorating, First Declutter!

Before you break out your holiday finery, take a few moments to look around your home and get rid of the clutter so your holiday decor will shine. If you have kids, now’s the time to purge some old toys and games and maybe donate them to a local children’s hospital. No need to take on the whole job yourself—get the kids involved, and don’t stop with the toys. Clear out your living space of things you don’t often use, store them away for the holiday season and make room for your festive decor.

Once you’ve removed the clutter, it’s time to turn your home into a holiday wonderland that reflects your personal style. Fun and festive or subtle and sophisticated, decorate your home from top to bottom and make your holiday guests feel warm and welcome.

PLANNING TIP: Short on time? A string of lights or garland at your entryway only takes a few minutes and makes a big impact.

Step 2: Lay Out The Welcome Mat (Literally)

Might as well start the festivities right at the front door. Greet your guests or even the mailman with a door mat that sets the holiday tone—maybe cheerful snowmen, playful sloths, or subtle pine trees. Add a traditional wreath on your front door to complete the look. But guess what—the fun doesn’t stop at the front door. Why not decorate your home from floor to ceiling? A hand-hooked rug is a cozy accent for any space—choose seasonal colors and traditional motifs, or something more playful like frolicking penguins, the choice is yours.

Step 3: Create A Cozy Guest Bed

Want to impress the in-laws that are coming in to celebrate the holidays? Why not extend your holiday decorating to your guest room. When else do you have a chance to use whimsical holiday bed sheets? Give your guests a warm and fuzzy feeling with fun flannel sheets featuring playful penguins, fashionable dogs, or stoic reindeer. Live in a warmer climate? Don’t worry, you can find holiday bedding in crisp, cool cotton percale as well.

Make sure your guests are comfortable with a plethora of pillows, both for sleeping and for style. And of course, no bed is complete without a throw blanket for a touch of color and extra warmth. A basket with a few blankets is a considerate idea as some of your guests may get chillier than others.

PLANNING TIP: Treat overnight guests to a personalized stocking filled with practical toiletries and other goodies.

Step 4: Add Some Bling To Your Holiday Bathroom Decor

Your powder room and guest bath can be prepped and decorated ahead of time, ensuring your home is holiday-ready for even unexpected guests.

Stock up on bath and hand towels like the Company Cotton™ bath towels for your guest bath. They are plush and absorbent and come in an awesome array of solid colors that can be mixed and matched to any decorative towels you may already have. Add a monogram for a personal touch or maybe some festive messages. Don’t forget a no-slip bath rug to protect your guests and keep your floor dry. For a five-star hotel feel, provide cozy robes to use during their stay–choose from luxurious Turkish cotton, Egyptian cotton, or deluxe fleece (it’s remarkably soft, warm, and cozy).

PLANNING TIP: Don’t forget the powder room! Embroidered linen guest towels are a classy touch.

Step 5: Deck Your Halls…And More

Now that your bath and guest bedrooms are holiday-ready focus on the rest of your home. The fun is in the details, so change up your living room with some decorative pillow covers and holiday throws. Dress up your dining room table with an elegant table runner and eye-catching holiday decor. Stock up on seasonal platters and trays, which will make whatever you’re serving festive. Adorn your banister and mantel with colorful garland and of course, don’t forget the stockings.

PLANNING TIP: To make for a stress-free party set everything up the night before, so the day of the party all you must do is put out the food and drinks.

Step 6: Prep The Spirits And Food

Good food and drink are what the holidays are all about. Before your guests arrive, find out what they like to drink so you can be well-prepared. Consider hitting up your local brewery or winery to give your bar some homegrown flare and make it extra special for out-of-town guests. No-cook appetizers are a practical choice and give you more time to relax with your guests. Cheese and charcuterie boards are artistic (and delicious) when displayed on a festive platter. Again, consider staying local with your assortment of cured meats, cheeses, olives, crackers, fruits, and spreads. Farmers Markets are an excellent source for all kinds of goodies, including freshly baked pies, pastries, and other desserts…just take them out of their packaging to make them “your own” (we’ll never tell!).

Step 7: For Those Sitting At The Kids’ Table

Expecting guests of the smaller variety? First off, have your Wi-Fi password handy—they will ask no matter what the age. A separate “kids” table is always popular but take it a step further and create a “kids” nook if you have space. It doesn’t have to be big, just make it cozy with some fun throw blankets and pillows for them to crash on. For extra points, a gaming platform is always a hit.

Step 8: Enjoy!

Careful planning will pay off and deliver a smooth holiday hosting season. So, sit back, and focus on what’s most important—spending the holidays with the people you love.

Holiday Prep Checklist

To help you stay sane and keep things organized, feel free to use the following “Holiday Prep” checklist, and have the satisfaction of checking things off as you complete them.

  • Discuss overnight arrangements and begin preparing for guests.
  • Create the picture-perfect moments for your holiday card photos—perhaps wearing matching family PJs.
  • Update holiday card list and put into label format for easy printing.
  • Stock up on wrapping supplies—wrapping paper, ribbons, gift bags, and tape. Look around and see if you might have some left over from last year!
  • Establish a holiday budget, including food and gifts.
  • PRESENTS!! Make a list of all the gifts you need to get and start shopping! Nothing beats shopping in your PJs from the comfort of your couch.
  • Shop early and gifts will arrive in plenty of time.
  • Wrap presents as they arrive and avoid late-night wrapping sessions. (Hint: It helps to keep curious eyes from previewing their gifts).
  • Take out your decorations and start planning your holiday glitz strategy.
  • Remember the awesome holiday photo(s) you took, well it’s time to address and mail your holiday cards!
  • It’s time to decorate! Hang your stockings, display the menorah, and turn your home into a holiday haven.
  • Review your holiday dishware and glasses to ensure you have enough for all the guests you are expecting (and even a little extra for those last-minute guests).
  • Plan your holiday party outfits and make sure they are ready to go.
  • Order any special holiday foods and put an alert on your phone, so you don’t forget to pick them up.
  • Buy a few multi-purpose gifts for last-minute emergencies. A bottle of wine in a festive wine bag is a perfect hostess gift.
  • Create a holiday cooking and baking plan, including which dishes can be cooked ahead of time.
  • Remember that holiday budget you made? It’s time to create your grocery list of what you will need. Cross out the ingredients you already have on hand.
  • Polish silverware, dust off your china, and prep your server ware (or better yet, purchase some high-quality disposable items.)
  • Cook and bake freezable items. (Can you already smell it—holiday baking aromas abound!)
  • Deep clean your house.
  • Pick up any perishables left on your grocery list.
  • Iron table linens.
  • Pick up pre-ordered food.
  • Cook whatever you can ahead of time and store in the container or platter it will be served on.
  • Buy fresh flowers.
  • Set the table, add your finishing touches, and do cleaning touchups.