It’s the season of giving, and most people would agree the most ultimate form of giving is opening up your home to guests during the holidays. If you’re one of the brave souls who has committed to the undertaking of sharing your home with guests this holiday season, we commend you. Hopefully, you know what you signed up for. If you’re not sure, take a couple of minutes to freak out then come back to this blog when you’re ready.


Done freaking out? Now that you got that out of your system, we’re here to tell you a little planning goes a long way. Knowing the right things to do and being efficient with preparation is everything. Here are 5 tips for hosting during the holidays:


Prepare for Imperfection

Something’s going to go wrong. Just accept that it’s part of nature. But don’t worry, it’s going to be okay! Put preventative measures in place, and deal with issues accordingly. If you do this, you’ll dramatically shrink the size of the bumps in the road.


Remove Clutter

Keep it airy inside your home. Remove bulky furniture and any unnecessary decor for a fresh, clean and hassle-free interior space. The worst situation is when you’ve got 20 people in a cluttered house. Not only can it get cramped, hot and smelly, but it’s a recipe for disaster. A picture frame or vase is bound to break, furniture is likely to stain and so on. If you’re hesitant to leave something out during the festivities, play it safe and put it away. You’ll be glad you did.


Check Kitchen and Bathroom Appliances

No holiday mishap is more disastrous than a kitchen or bathroom appliance failing to work on Christmas. A toilet clogged by an anonymous relative, or a chicken sitting cold in a broken oven that what was thought to be working is a couple of nightmarish examples of chaotic holiday situations. Check everything around the house that you or your guests might use, and make sure everything is functioning properly. Refrain from deep cleaning or doing any substantial replacements of your appliances right before the holidays. You might be tempted to replace that noisy pipe under the sink, but you don’t want to risk messing with something that might cause your appliance not to work correctly, especially if it can wait. When it comes to your bathroom, make sure it’s clean, stocked with toilet paper and smelling fresh. Light linen scented candle right before guests arrive if you have to. If the toilet gets clogged any time during the festivities, don’t panic. A sticky note on the bathroom door will save guests from the horrors within until you’re able to step away and take care of the issue.


Decorate Seamlessly

Nothing gets you in the holly jolly spirit more than a well-decorated home. This doesn’t mean your house needs to look like the Griswold’s. The key to your holiday decorations is seamlessness. If you have front yard inflatables, instead of stringing traditional yellow lights around the house, try something more consistent, like hanging colorful lights.


Get Creative With Exterior Decor

An elaborate light display is a gorgeous sight for guests and neighbors to see, and it’s something homeowners should be proud of because it requires a lot of time and effort. However, you can still have a beautiful holiday display while still keeping it simple and tasteful. A classic wreath on the door matched with traditional yellow string lights always achieves a classic look, no matter the design of your house. Chances are, you already have some unique features on the exterior of your home. Integrating Christmas decor into these features will look great and make your exterior look cohesive. If you have trees or bushes, drape lights over them. If you have a lamp in your yard, wrap it in garland or red ribbon. Add some holiday foliage to your year-round potted plants. Get creative!


Keep the Interior Simple

Your interior can be a little trickier because everyone has a unique style. The key here is finding your style and figuring out what matches the mood of your house. All-white decorations work for very few houses. Garland can achieve a classy look as long as you don’t overdo it. Artificial and natural trees both look good in most houses, and they’re easy to find in Jacksonville for a reasonable price. There are so many different options when it comes to decorating for Christmas. Check out any number of home decor websites to spark some ideas. As long as you have a cohesive look, you’ll win over all your guests.


Hopefully, you’re feeling a little less overwhelmed. Don’t stress over the planning, and, dare I say, have fun with it! After all, you’re doing enough by opening your home to multiple guests. Even your most ruthless critic at Christmas dinner will likely overlook all the small details and just be happy to be celebrating the holidays with friends and family.