The holidays have much to offer, particularly opportunities to host friends and family and show off your lovely home! Beyond a festively decorated tree with gorgeous Christmas tree skirts, there are a few quick and easy decorations you can add to make your home feel like Christmas. Whatever your favorite part of the holidays, there will be lots of love and warm, fuzzy feelings. But how do you prepare the house for guests? We’ve got a few thoughts on the matter.
The inviting nature of the home starts at the front entrance. Let’s make your front entryway a welcoming space to encourage guests to come in and make themselves at home. A lovely Christmas wreath on the front door will be a wonderful welcome symbol. Traditional balsam fir clippings, decorated festive berries, and a bright red bow or colorful ornaments will show that you’re ready to host from the moment they arrive. Before they even enter, have a Christmas welcome mat at the entry where they can stomp off the caked-on snow from their boots.
Then, inside the well-lit entryway, have a table set up with a few decorations, such as a festive bowl for keys and a jar of candy canes. A bench for sitting to take off shoes, a designated shoe mat with a raised lip to contain the melted snow from boots, and a coat rack or tree to help keep your entryway cleaner and clutter-free. Visitors will love family portraits displayed along the entryway wall, as they will radiate warmth from the love of your family.
Get the greeter—your friendly pup—ready to meet folks at the door by dawning her with dog Christmas bandanas. Visitors will be pleasantly surprised by your attention to detail.
Embellish the staircase and halls with string lights and garland for extra flare. The warmth of the glow will radiate throughout the house. A tray of delicately scented candles on the dining room table will look stunning, especially if adorned with a few other Christmas décor items like pinecones, red or gold ribbon, and reindeer figurines. Balsam fir or pine clippings intentionally set about the house can be a delicate touch.
Lighting a fire (extra points for chestnut roasting) will provide literal heat while warming your guest’s hearts and reminding them of comforting childhood memories. If you have a fireplace, keeping chopped wood in a basket by the fire can be a homey decoration that also serves a purpose. Those who don’t have fireplaces can set up an artificial fireplace on TV with streaming fireplace stations. It’s not quite the same, but it’s a safe alternative for homes with children or pets.
Another beautiful touch can be a simple bar cart, so you’re ready to make festive drinks and show off your home bar game. Alternatively, set up a hot cocoa bar on your shiny bar cart. A cute setup can be straightforward, with holiday mugs, candy canes, marshmallows, cocoa mix, and stirring spoons. Set up bowls of treats on the mantle and coffee tables so that guests have access to sweets at every turn. A sweet little Christmas sign at the station that says “Be Merry” or “Ho Ho Ho” can add a little extra cheer.
In the guestroom, have a festive welcome basket with toiletries, towels, and candies to show you are excited for them to stay with you. Switch out cotton sheets for a set of holiday-printed flannels for a warmer night’s sleep, and add an extra throw on the bed in case they get chilly. A colorful throw pillow on the bed will bring the room together, and a Christmas rug on the floor will help your guests stay cozy when they get out of bed in the morning.
Holiday prep doesn’t have to be about Christmas. For guests who celebrate Hanukkah, have a few Hanukkah Gifts, a menorah, and blue decorations ready. To customize gifts, check out the Lands’ End monogram shop.
Much of what makes the holidays special is folks’ good moods and openness to gathering. Good vibes start with the host—while having guests over, take good care of yourself and take breaks when needed, even if it’s just popping into your bedroom to take a few deep breaths.
Another great way to bring good energy to the air is to warm the house with comforting smells. An old real estate trick has cookies in the oven warming up the house with the delightful aroma of baked goods wafting through the air. Or make DIY potpourri on your stove with cinnamon, cranberry, orange, balsam fir, and water on a low boil simmering on the stove. Cheerful, mellow music playing throughout the house can add a lot to the atmosphere to make guests feel at ease.