The current healthcare crisis fundamentally changed the way people celebrate events. Birthday parties, weddings, and even holiday festivities are becoming more intimate affairs, and some of them have even transformed into virtual gatherings. As it stands, it seems that this will likely go on for the foreseeable future. Although the holiday season may look a little different this year than the year’s past, that’s no reason to not get your home ready for the festive season. In fact, it should give you all the more motive to inject some holiday spirit into your home spread, in spite of the circumstances.
But as you probably already know, there’s a lot of work to be done when getting the house ready for some seasonal festivities. From cleaning up clutter to decorating every inch of the home, there are lots of things to do in so little time. If you don’t know where to start, here’s a handy list of some easy tips to help you prepare your home for the holidays.
Freshen up your chimney and fireplace
Before you start roasting chestnuts on an open fire, you’ll need to keep your chimney and fireplace clean in order to minimize health risks and prevent any hazardous situations from happening. Make sure to clean out any ashes left in the firebox, and schedule a chimney inspection and cleaning as early as possible. When lighting a fire, make sure that you’re only using seasoned firewood, and avoid painted or pressure-treated wood.
Safeguard your tree and decorations
Almost all babies and pets find the smell, texture, and sound of shiny holiday decorations and a fresh Christmas tree entrancing — and who can blame them? Unfortunately, these festive bits and baubles can be pose risks to both pets and children. Tinsel, small ornaments, and ribbons are dangerous choking hazards, while misbehaving pets can knock over your tree and cause destruction with the swipe of a tail. You can avoid this by elevating your tree and keeping it away from small paws and hands. Only use shatterproof decorations that are too big to swallow. If possible, opt for a fake plastic Christmas tree that doesn’t shed.
Tidy up your home
People tend to accumulate tons of clutter over the holidays, from ripped open gift wrappers to food leftovers. In order to prepare for this, you should get ahead of your decluttering as early as possible so that you aren’t just inviting even more chaos and disarray into your life as the holidays roll around. Get rid of any unnecessary belongings lying around by selling them or donating them. This is the perfect season to make a generous donation to a non-profit organization or charity too, so that’s all the more reason to tidy up.
It’s very easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff you have to prepare for the festive season, but getting everything on paper can help minimize the understandable anxiety of holiday planning. Start by listing down everything you need to get done — from buying the tree and setting out the decorations to wrapping gifts and sending them out. Once you’ve got a comprehensive list of all your tasks, you can then schedule them on a calendar or planner. Make sure to allot extra time for more labor-intensive duties that require more time and effort.
Fire-proof your space
Traditional candles, light strings, dry tree branches, and fireplaces are one of the leading causes of home fires during the holiday season. Make sure that you unplug all lights or blow out any lit candles before you leave the house or go to bed. If possible, opt for electric menorahs or kinaras, but if you must use traditional ones, make sure they aren’t near highly-flammable surfaces.
When it comes to your Christmas tree, keep a spray bottle filled with water nearby and regularly spray down your tree to ensure that it’s watered and moist, as dry wood and pine needles can catch fire quite easily. Don’t forget to also do a thorough inspection of your string lights to see if there are any broken bulbs, and throw it out and buy a new one if you notice any compromised bulbs.
Keep your cupboards and refrigerator stocked
Obviously, the best thing about the holidays is the delicious food. This is the perfect time to keep your cupboards and refrigerator stocked with the ingredients for your holiday feast, small festive treats, as well as your daily staples. When it comes to buying a turkey for Thanksgiving, it’s recommended that you purchase it at least one to two days before you plan to cook and serve it.
Planning for the holidays doesn’t need to be stressful, especially if you plan early. Keep these tips in mind to ensure that you have a cozy and joyful festive season, even if you’re spending it from the comfort of your home, either alone or with a small group of your family and friends.