Home for the Holidays :: Getting Your Home Merry and Bright for Holiday Entertaining

I’ll be there first to admit, I love me a good ol’ family gathering. I love the holidays. I love all the magical chaos that comes along with it. I LOVE to entertain in my home, to host my family and friends and entertain their faces off … I really really do. 

What I loathe? All of the freaking prep that goes along with it. I mean the holidays are crazy … crazy like my kids after their Paw Paw gave them a super sized Icee for the first time ever. Crazy as in the time I did all my Christmas shopping at midnight two days before Santa was to arrive. Crazy.

This year, I’m hosting Christmas day at my house. While it all sounded grand and jolly when I first volunteered, it soon sunk in that “ummm helllooooo?!?! You have four boys and a gazillion obligations. How in the world are your toilets going to be those of a nice public restroom and not resemble a port-o-potty at Jazzfest?!” I have my work cut out for me. 

I decide this year that I was going to need a legit game plan. One that the whole fam (hopefully) can help out with. An itinerary full of squeaky clean and Christmas shopping and baking and ornament making and Christmas lighting and mom not turning into a total physco. I can do this. We can do this. Let’s do this together. Yes? Maybe?! 

Let’s start with a few of my MUST KNOW tips:

Menu plan and outsource 

Do this now. Getting your home holiday ready is a task enough. Adding in the fact that you’ll have 20+ people at your house four hours after Santa comes AND cooking for everyone will drive you batty. Send a group text and divvy up all the dishes. Decide what your responsible for and plan out what you’ll want to feed the your own family Christmas morning (or the morning of your event). Make your list. Pro tip: search Pinterest for a make ahead or crockpot meal that you can have ready for you when you wake up Christmas morning.

Don’t forget the necessities 

As simple as this one is, don’t forget to add paper goods to your list. Toilet paper, paper plates (for the week of so your kitchen is THAT much less of a cleanup the night before), cups, paper towels, etc. Those are easy to look over … trust me. I’ve had an event with an hour left and completely out of toilet paper … and we live a half hour from a store. My dad may or may not bring a pack of toilet paper EVERY time he visits. 

Schedule grocery pickup well in advance 

Those tips above, follow them right on in to this one. Once you have your list complete, load it all into your Walmart grocery pickup order. Add as you need, then once it’s complete, close it out and schedule your pickup. Pro tip: pickup times will be more limited this time of year; try to select your pickup window a week or two before your event, making your pickup time about two-three days before your event. ANOTHER pro tip: grocery pickup not in your area and you don’t feel like dealing with a packed store? Suck it up and do your shopping obnoxiously late one night … like 11:00 or midnight. Trust me, it’ll be worth it.

Set a cleaning schedule 

This may sound absurd to some, but this is my no fail plan for events. Start with your “spic and span by” date and work your way back. Things like a clean kitchen, floors, and toilets being the last things you clean, and stuff like that random junk pile that’s accumulated over the past six months or last year’s pile of not-so-lit christmas lights you’ve been meaning to chunk being the things that you tackle first. I’ve included what my cleaning itinerary is below to give you an idea of what my week leading up will be like! 

Schedule your events 

Nail down times and location of who has to be when where and how into your cleaning schedule. Knowing that you have to be at Aunt Jan’s house for 5:00 Christmas Eve will remind you that you need to have the laundry caught up and put away by noon that day, or that Santa and breakfast with your littles need to be wrapping up around 10:00 so you can start prepping your food for when family comes over at noon on Christmas Day. 

“Work” while they sleep 

Sleep is overrated guys. At least to me. I personally love knocking out things like sweeping and mopping or cleaning the kitchen after the kids go to bed. Bathrooms and meal prep while they nap.

Cook ahead of time 

Yes. Freshly cooked meals are way more preferred but somethings actually are ok to prep ahead of time. Cinnamon rolls and quiche on Christmas morning? Make ahead and freeze! Pop it in the oven the morning of. Have the duty of bringing an appetizer? Consider how well it reheats OR search out things that do really well reheating when volunteering! Pro tip: Buffalo dip is the perfect appetizer to make ahead and reheat the day of … and #allthefamilymembers LOVE it. Not feeling it? Call dibs on bringing bread and drinks!

Ok guys. There it is. The things I have learned (most likely the hard way) about getting that home nice and clean, food on the table, and being the hostess with the hostess. Remember to slow down and enjoy the coming weeks with your kiddos … they’ll never remember how clean your floors were on Christmas morn.

Want and idea of what my cleaning itinerary looks like? See below!

Disclaimer: this is merely a guide as to how my household works and what needs to be done. Tweak it as you please and according to what your family needs done!

Monday, 12/18

  • Wash slip covers on sofas
  • Make grocery list and schedule pickup (or play it safe and do sooner)

Tuesday, 12/19 

  • Clean out fridge and pantry
  • Clean out/donate toys

Wednesday, 12/20

  • Wash bed linens
  • Start catching up laundry

Thursday, 12/21

  • Pickup grocery order
  • Prep and freeze make ahead meals

Friday, 12/22

  • Bathrooms (deep clean)
  • Have Blaison (teenager) start his laundry and clean his room
  • Sweep/mop floors (AFTER kids go to sleep)
  • Finish laundry

Saturday, 12/23

  • Clean kitchen
  • Ok now, REALLY finish laundry!
  • Dust
  • Clean windows
  • Pick up and prep outside (hubby ftw!)
  • Gather firewood
  • 3:00 – Christmas with the in-laws

Sunday, 12/24

  • Pickup livingroom
  • clean playroom
  • vacuum
  • 12:00 – Christmas with my dad
  • 7:00 – More Christmas with the in-laws
  • Santa is coming to town!!!
  • Tidy up any loose ends from the past two days of running around town

Monday, 12/25 {MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!}

  • Breakfast and Santa, family time
  • Finish/start cooking for family headed over
  • Tidy kitchen
  • Cue the Christmas music and light the fire!
  • 12:00 – My family over for Christmas

Tell us! What are your go-to tips for getting things merry and bright for holiday entertaining?

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