Hosting a killer holiday party can be a blast. You call all your friends, make invites, plan drinks and food and decorations – and then realize that your home might not be exactly party-ready. What do you need to do before your home is playing host to a dozen of your closest friends and their rowdy children? Don’t panic – we’ve got you.
Light the Way
The first thing you need to worry about is making sure everyone can find your front door. What’s the point of throwing a party if nobody can get to you?
- Most obviously, make sure your porch lights are working. Change out the bulbs, if you have to, because it’s winter now and that means it gets dark early.
- Trim back the shrubs that might be growing over the sidewalk. Make it easy to get to you.
- Bonus points for putting out some lights on the lawn. Nothing says ‘the party’s over here’ like a strand of blinking lights along the edges of the sidewalk. Consider using something like these handy landscaping lights: ROPE LIGHTS
Clean It Up
Hopefully this isn’t your first party, so you know you have to clean your home. Hopefully you also know that the night before your party is a drastically bad time to decide to deep-clean your grout. Give yourself a week or so to get ready, and make a list of items that you can spread across a few days. Here are the key spots to worry about.
- At a minimum, sweep and vacuum. If you’re going to have the carpets cleaned, do it at least three days before the party to give them time to dry. If you need to clean tile, check out these options for cleaning your grout: SO HANDY
- Bathrooms are going to get used. You can count on it. So clean around the toilet, clean out the sinks, clean the floor and clean the mirror. This is one of those tasks you may want to leave for the day of the party –unless you can barricade the bathroom for a few days, you probably want the cleaning to be as fresh as possible.
- Kitchen appliances may get a workout if you’re planning on doing any cooking, so pay some attention to the dishwasher, the stove and the fridge. Maybe bleach the sink. Luckily, these can be done a day or two ahead of time, and just maintained until the party. Just make sure you throw out those dried-out pizza slices and wipe down the inside of the fridge. You’ll probably need some place for leftovers.
- If you have pets, make sure to clean up any hair or dander that may be stuck to the furniture. Lots of people have dog or cat allergies, and even if you lock up the animals for the party, your guests might still have sneezing fits if they sit in Fluffy’s favorite recliner.
If you’re having an adults-only party, you can ignore this part, but not providing for young guests can limit your attendance. Your friends might not want to get a sitter just to wish you merry, so maybe think about the children.
- Kids are a rowdy, unpredictable lot, and so it’s a good idea to set some boundaries and make them stick. Have a pool? No kids in the back yard (your smoker friends will appreciate this one, too). Possibly put a baby gate across the stairs. This one is nice: PLASTIC IS EASIER TO CLEAN
- The little ones probably don’t want to be too far from their parents, especially if they’re the only children present. Consider setting up a comfortable corner with books, a game or two, and maybe a tablet with a couple games on it. Keep them entertained and maybe they won’t spend the entire evening making their parents wish they had left them with their grandparents.
- Set aside a baby sanctuary. One of the parents might need to run off and feed a baby, change a diaper, or just sit with them while they whine for a while. This is one of those times where ‘bundle of joy’ is the exact wrong term, so make it easy on the parents and maybe they’ll bring an extra bottle of wine along with the bottle of formula (the wine, hopefully, is for you).
- Kid-proof your home. Put away anything fragile. Hide the TV remotes. There are loads of tips, but this article is long enough already and we’re not even done, so here’s a good article to read when you finish this one: LOADS OF TIPS
Tune It Up
Not music – you’re on your own there. We’re talking about those little repairs that you keep meaning to make, but somehow you never get around to them. Most of them can still wait, but here are a few to avoid having embarrassing moments.
- Tighten the toilet seat. Sure, you know it’s wobbly, but your guests may be surprised. This is not a good place for a surprise. Oh, and make sure the plunger is by the toilet.
- More lights can’t hurt. Put night lights in the hallways and bathroom. You might know where the switch is, but your guests don’t.
- Fix those doors that won’t close. Usually this is as easy as moving the strike plate. Here’s a handy guide for fixing those pesky doors: MAY USE LIPSTICK
Finish It Off
This is sort of a catch-all basket of party prep tips, because we don’t know your life. If you have other handy tips for getting ready for the holiday throw-down, share them in the comments so that the rest of us can profit from your knowledge.