How to Prepare Your Home for the Holidays

Getting ready for the holiday season is about more than planning that special family meal. It’s about creating an entire vibe throughout your home of peace, comfort, and merriment. 

The best way to accomplish this is with thoughtful preparation. Whether it’s a little extra cleaning or some subtle decorating, you can create a home that really encapsulates the spirit of the holidays. All it takes are a few simple tasks.

Declutter common areas

Don’t think of it like you’re cleaning out your home, having to give everything away. Rather, conduct a decluttering that removes some everyday items to make way for holiday decor. You’re only putting these things away temporarily to maintain a cozy, holiday feel throughout, rather than have a home that feels overstuffed.

Since you’re just setting aside a few things for a little while, DIY network suggests having an extra laundry basket on hand. “Easily declutter spaces with a laundry basket you can hide away in your closet.” Once the season is over, box up your holiday decor and replace it with those special items that line your shelves the rest of the year.

Tidy up

Dust is your biggest enemy during the holidays because it’s sneaky. It’s also often the first thing guests notice when they come into your home. As you’re planning out where holiday decorations will go, dust the space. You could end up cleaning spots you’ve neglected since last year.

If you’re hosting a holiday dinner, it’s best to clean out the fridge beforehand as well. This not only provides room for all the platters and casserole dishes, but makes sure guests going into the fridge will see clean shelves and sparkling drawers rather than old Tupperware containers, spills, and rotting vegetables.

While you’re at it, if you expect a large number of guests, give the floors a quick clean. Vacuum, mop, or dust them as necessary to give your home that fresh feeling.

Introduce holiday scents

Candles not only make for an easy way to decorate your home, they help fill it with those wonderful holiday scents that give people all the feels. You can create a winter wonderland with the right scent, or take people back to their favorite holiday memories. All it takes is the right candle selection.

Some of the most popular holiday candle scents include:

  • Pine or fir
  • Christmas cookie 
  • Cranberry
  • Cinnamon
  • Fireside 
  • Hot toddy
  • Apple pie
  • Peppermint
  • Roasting chestnuts
  • Hot cocoa 

There are so many different choices that anyone can find their perfect holiday scent. Not only that, but you have enough options to fill each room of your home with a different smell.

Incorporate plants and flowers

Even though it’s winter, there are still plenty of plants and flowers associated with the holidays. Adding them into your decor can bring an element of freshness and greenery to your home, completing your holiday look.

It’s not always about the scent these plants give off that make them so perfect for the holidays, but rather their vibrant colors that match so perfectly with the holidays.

Whether potted throughout the house or used to adorn the front porch, consider using these popular holiday choices throughout your home.

  • Chrysanthemums
  • Poinsettia
  • Holly
  • Amaryllis
  • Mistletoe
  • Paperwhites
  • Christmas cactus

In addition to making great decorations at your house, these particular plants and flowers also make great host/hostess gifts to take with you elsewhere.

Add accent pieces

Not every nook and cranny needs its own holiday cheer. Instead, focus on the main areas of your home, the places you spend the most time in and that guests are most likely to see. Think of adding different types of accent pieces to the front porch, entryway, kitchen, living room and bathrooms.

  • Opt for a decorative wreath on the front door and some potted plants or holiday lights around your front porch.
  • Collect a few small nutcrackers for the table in your entryway.
  • Find some holiday-themed dish towels, placemats, or cloth napkins to use in the kitchen.
  • Make your tree the centerpiece of your living room, or consider hanging some decorative lights and tinsel inside the space.
  • A small basket of pinecones will help your bathroom hold onto the holiday spirit.

If Christmas isn’t what the holidays are about for you, focus on wintery accents. Maybe toss in a few strings of white lights for some sparkle.

Big statements aren’t necessary in every room, but if you want your whole house to speak to the holidays, adding a little something to most of the common spaces will do the trick.

Set timers

A pro tip for all holiday decorating aficionados — use timers. This works for both inside and outside holiday lights. There’s a dual benefit to timers — first, they help keep your energy bill lower since the lights aren’t on all the time; next, they make sure the lights actually come on, so everyone can appreciate your decorating efforts.

For outside, use a timer that’s sensitive to sunlight. It ensures your holiday lights kick on as soon as it gets dark. Conversely, it makes sure they shut off right after dawn.

Inside, you can get fancy with a bluetooth timer you can mess with from your phone. This really gives you the most control over the length of time your lights are on, and allows you to make adjustments should you want them on sooner or off earlier on a specific day.

When in doubt, old-school timers that you pre-program with a specific “on” and “off” time work just fine.

The perfect home for the holidays

With the right preparation and decoration, having a home suited for the holidays is simple. Start with a little cleaning, do a little decorating, and add in some comforting holiday scents. All together, they’ll allow you to create the perfect home full of holiday cheer.