With only a little over six weeks to go until Christmas Day, you’ve probably got way more lists compiled than just the ones for who’s Naughty and who’s Nice. Is wrapping and mailing packages and/or cards on your list? What about prepping holiday menus? In all of the bustle, don’t forget to give your home some holiday TLC. We’ve wrapped up a few ideas for prepping your house for holiday festivities.
Though it sounds like drudgery, cleaning and tidying top the seasonal prep list for a valid reason: your sanity depends upon it! As cards, gifts, treats, and even guests begin arriving throughout the coming weeks, you’ll have space for them all if you take time now to clear out closets, drawers, and shelves. Knowing that you’ll soon have a refrigerator full of holiday leftovers, dive in and give it a deep-clean to dispose of all those out-of-date salad dressings and condiments. Wiping out the crumbs and corners and starting with a fresh, clean fridge helps calm the overwhelm once the cooking chaos begins. (Tip: do it the day before trash pick-up so that anything smelly doesn’t have long to stink up your garbage cans.)
Don’t give all your cleaning love to the refrigerator; the dishwasher and oven need a little attention, too. Nothing’s worse than preheating the oven to roast the turkey, only to have it trip the smoke alarm from all the burning cheese that has settled under the heating element. Take time to clean the oven a week or so before the Big Day, and while you’re at it use an oven-safe thermometer to test the internal temperature of your oven for accuracy. Your dishwasher will be working overtime, too, so take a moment ahead of the hubbub to remove the filter from the bottom of the dishwasher and rinse with hot water to remove food particles and other debris. Wipe the inside of the dishwasher with a damp cloth, and run a cycle through with a cup of plain white vinegar on the top rack (using the hottest water setting possible).
Before leaving kitchen, don’t forget to assess and tidy the pantry. You’ll likely find a few expired items here, too, and will want to make space for pre-holiday larger-than-usual grocery trips. You may want to stock up on convenient grab-and-go snacks that are easy to slip into your bag for an extended day of holiday shopping or at other times when activities keep you away from home.
It’s easy to get swept away in the festivities of the season and become lax when it comes to home security, yet this time of year often sees a spike in criminal activity. Always lock doors and windows in your home, and be vigilant about closing the garage door when returning home. Lock your vehicle and remove all valuables—even when it’s parked in your driveway. While displaying a Christmas tree in a front window looks beautiful from the street, be mindful about the packages placed beneath the tree, and whether or not they can be seen from the street (or through the window if someone were to come up close to the home). Don’t advertise expensive toys, electronics, or other gifts received by discarding un-collapsed boxes with the weekly trash.
If you plan to host guests, make their stay more comfortable by checking linens, towels, and pillows ahead of time to ascertain whether or not it’s time to make replacements. If you only host friends a few times per year it’s easy to forget about keeping these amenities fresh and in fit repair. If the guest bathroom is one that doesn’t get much use otherwise, check the drains of the sink and shower to verify that they are not running slow or in need of maintenance. Prepping the bathroom with items such as plenty of toilet paper, plastic or disposable drinking cups, a night light, facial tissues and the like makes friends feel welcomed and at ease. Providing easy access to electrical outlets in the bedroom (for charging devices), as well as a note containing the WIFI password, adds a hospitable touch.
Nothing proves quite so frustrating as trying to wrap a last-minute holiday gift and not being able to find paper, tape, and a tag—let alone a clear space on which to wrap! Set yourself up for success by establishing a wrapping work station stocked with all the necessities: varieties of wrapping paper, several rolls of tape, ribbons and/or bows, empty boxes, tissue paper, gift tags, pens (that work), scissors, a trash can, and of course, snacks. Set up in an area where you can stream favorite holiday movies or music, and hopefully in an area that you can leave as the appointed wrapping space for the duration of the season—even if it’s simply a card table in the basement. You may find that, with an allocated spot for the job, wrapping gifts becomes less of a chore and perhaps even enjoyable.
Whether you’re the type who likes to start listening to Christmas music the day after Halloween, or you’re more of a December purist, there are many ways to create a festive, seasonal atmosphere in your home. Set the mood with scents such as citrus, peppermint, balsam, or pine, using candles or essential oil diffusers. If you’re not ready to put up the tree yet, try swapping out the covers on the couch throw pillows for something more seasonal. They needn’t be covered in Santas and snowmen—just go with a wintery color palette and see how it changes the room. If collections are your jam (for example, nativities, snowmen, Santas) get more impact by grouping like items together rather than spreading them throughout the house.
If you’ve got more than sugar, spice, and everything nice in your dreams—as in, your dream includes being in a new home by this time next year—give us a call. We build homes that last a lifetime, homes where memories are made and roots grounded. At Sheffield we believe in integrity, accountability, and teamwork. We’ve built homes in the Denver metro area and in northern Colorado for more than 40 years, offering experience and expertise while maintaining a hands-on, personalized approach to the construction process. 303-420-0056