There’s no better way to start making memories in your new home than to host a holiday celebration. But when you’re still unpacking and settling in, how do you find the time to decorate, cook, and prepare for an influx of guests. We’ve created this simple guide to help maximize the merriment and minimize the headaches.
Stock up. Before your visitors arrive, make sure you have the food, toiletries, and bedding you’ll need to prevent last-minute shopping trips. Put important supplies in visible places so guests don’t have to ask.
Seek help. Assign family members specific tasks to complete. Getting the whole family involved in decorating or making treats makes them fun activities rather than burdensome chores.
Premade or potluck. Nowadays, many grocers and restaurants offer premade holiday meals. Either pick them up or have them delivered, saving yourself the worry of trying to cook a feast. Potlucks are another casual approach that many people enjoy. Most guests are happy to bring a signature dish to a holiday gathering.
Use what you have. If you don’t have all the furniture for your new home yet, don’t sweat it. Open spaces are great for parties and leave extra space for socializing. Use the items you have. If you’re hosting lots of guests but lack a large table, consider pushing two mismatched tables together and using a large tablecloth to cover them. Add an arrangement of natural foliage from your yard and no one will ever know. Alternatively, you could serve a buffet-style meal and let guests help themselves. Existing benches and stools work well for extra seating. Ottomans and side tables are great places for setting trays of hors d’oeuvre and small desserts.
Sleep spaces. When overnight guests are coming, you may need to get creative. If you don’t have a guest room or pullout sofa bed, air mattresses are great options. Newer models are comfortable and affordable, and you can deflate them when not in use. Thick mattress toppers can turn a standard couch into a comfortable sleeping option. For children, turn a large floor space into an indoor camping event using mats and sleeping bags. Not only can this be fun, but it frees up the children’s rooms for adult guests.
Free up some extra storage. Leave a closet open and clutter-free for your guests to store their luggage and other belongings. If you’re short on storage, a freestanding garment rack or bench to put a suitcase on can be helpful.
Still unpacking? Temporarily hide boxes in the attic or garage. Or, if you’re feeling creative, wrap them and turn them into over-sized decorations.