Although I’ve realized recently (in the past several years) that I’m more of an introvert, I still really love welcoming people into our home and spending time with friends or family! Hospitality is something that my husband and I love to together, and I love that hosting is a joint or team effort!
Bjorn and I hosted some of my immediate family for Thanksgiving this year – the day after Thanksgiving, because why not keep celebrating?! – and that day was full of sweet, special little memories.
We really got a kick out of decorating the house before my family came, and making everything extra festive and cheery. We have a coffee table in the living room that we set up with glasses and sparkling juice, not to mention trays of appetizers like grape salsa on goat cheese crostini, caprese salad bites, and more.
When guests step into your house, whether or not they mean to be scanning the room, their eyes are immediately drawn toward what’s going on in the room decor-wise. Now, I know that when family stops over, they’re (typically) not judging your style or cleanliness, but I personally feel it adds a nice edge of elegance to make sure everything is straightened up nicely.
In addition to general cleaning, when it’s the holiday season, I reside in the camp of “why not decorate a bit more to fit the holiday??” 🙂
RELATED: Get a Free Printable 20-Minute Housecleaning Checklist HERE
There are expensive ways to decorate for the holidays (aka, go to Target and buy all holiday-related items, haha!) and then there are simpler ways to decorate for the season. And I believe that some of these simpler ways look more elegant – plus, they’re a bit more versatile as you transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas and from Christmas to….just general wintery decor!
Simple Ways To Make Your Home Guest-Ready For The Holidays
1 // Separate your appetizers from the rest of your prepared food and display them! I mentioned this idea earlier in the post. It added an elegant touch to the day to have our appetizers ready to be enjoyed right when our guests stepped into the house and entered the living room! Having appetizers separate from the rest of the food (and eaten before the meal) hearkens to an earlier time, when people would always be offered drinks and light hors d’oeuvres in a sitting room before a meal. All you need? Appetizers, of course (but these can be simple), a couple simple, white ceramic trays, and glasses to serve drinks in.
2 // Purchase only a few things that will add a special touch. If you do have cloth napkins, great! But if you’re like me and they’re not something you use enough to justify owning, a quick trip to the dollar store in town can actually elevate your guests’ dining experience! Just look for a package of paper napkins that look a bit more fancy. For Thanksgiving, I found some tan napkins with cursive words like “thankful” and “joy” on them. When I draped them across our pottery plates, they really added class to the tablescape! Another thing I did this year was pick up a couple faux pine sprigs at Walmart (for a couple bucks). I also found a few Christmas-themed wooden words in the dollar section at Target, which I then spray-painted white! Other than a few items, I didn’t have to purchase that much this year because the rest of our Christmas decor will just be reused year after year!
3 // Play festive (but low-key) music. Music really can make or break an atmosphere. The reason I said “low-key” is so that the music doesn’t overrule the conversation or attention in the room. The point of hosting is to spend time together and spend time talking with loved ones; use just enough music to add to the feel. I love playlists like choral music from Eric Whitacre (his “Light and Gold” album) or some of Sufjan Steven’s Christmas songs.
4 // Get seasonal smells going. This can be a little plug-in in the wall, essential oils (I like my Young Living Christmas Spirit oil blend), or a candle. Honestly, though, if you don’t want to go the scented route, the food you cooked up will add yummy smells all on its own! 🙂
5 // Use mostly just what you have, to keep the decor festive but simple. My favorites: a string of lights with other little holiday items on a sideboard in our living room…simple faux pine sprigs in our ceramic white pitcher….a tiny little Christmas tree in the kitchen….a $3 little tree on the piano…. If you find white ceramic items around your house, you can add bits of green or red (I try not to go overboard with loud colors) to them and suddenly, everything feels a lot more Christmas-y!
6 // Play up your home’s strengths. This sounds a bit funny, but you know how we all have something we like the most about our features, and then we accentuate that with makeup or accessories? A home or apartment can be much the same. Is your apartment airy and light? Decorate it with that feel in mind. Is your townhome cozy and warm? Then add items to your decor that’ll make guests feel cozy, too! For us, our home is sometimes referred to in the family as “the peace house,” because it used to be a parsonage and it has this deep sense of peace in it. So whatever decor I put up, I try to keep that peaceful atmosphere in mind. Obviously, I’m not trying to make the place look edgy and modern, because that just doesn’t fit with the character of the house. 🙂
7 // And of course, clean before people come over! If I know people are coming over in 2 days, then I like to clean the house the day before – not the day of – to get the majority of the cleaning done then. That way, I can save little touch-up tasks for the day of, which means I won’t appear totally exhausted when they walk in the door! I created a great 20-minute housecleaning checklist if you find you’re short on time, though!
How do you like to prepare your home for guests and the holidays?