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Holiday Hosting Tips

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When family and friends come visiting during the holidays, there are lots of ways to make it a special festive time. This guide contains holiday hosting tips.


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November 18, 2013

With the onset of the holiday season (Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years), many of us find we may have some occasional unexpected company. There are several items that we can keep on hand, and things to do to make such visits more pleasant.

  1. Be sure your bathroom that guests will use is clean. Once you clean the bathroom, a 10 minute (or less) touch up daily will keep it that way. Make sure you have an extra package of toilet paper on hand. This isn't the time to wait until you open the last roll to run to the store. Also be sure to have hand soap in the bathroom and clean hand towels for guests to use.

  2. Have on hand some flavored teas, coffee or hot cocoa and some cookies. These make a nice inexpensive treat to offer your guest.

  3. If you live in a cooler climate, make sure your coat closet is clean and organized, with some extra hangers (I use the heavy duty wood ones in mine) to have a place to hang guests coats. This is especially important if you have indoor pets. No one wants to visit and have to lay their coat on a bed or chair and then leave with it covered in pet hair.

  4. A tidy spot to visit in. During the holiday season, it can get pretty hectic at times. But, even though it gets busy, your guests will feel more comfortable and at ease if you have a nice spot to visit in. So, try to keep at least one place (the living room, or dining room, kitchen, etc.) where you can comfortably sit and visit without having them have to stand there awkwardly while you clear them a spot. That can make them feel like their visit was unexpected and unwanted.

  5. To cut down on odor, keep your trash emptied, and food and dirty dishes put away. No one wants to visit a stinky home. Also, be sure any litter boxes are also kept clean.

  6. Have a few non-gender specific gifts for both adults and children on hand. Keep them simple, but handy for someone who may bring you something. For children, I like to keep a few wrapped coloring books with crayons, play dough or some board games from the dollar store. For adults, some small boxes of candy, daily planner for the upcoming year or calendar, stationary, dry soup mix in a jar, or cake or cookie mix in a jar.

  7. Keep the area by the front door clear of clutter--especially the many pairs of shoes that often gather at doors. No one wants to see their guest fall over them.

  8. Lastly, if you know ahead of time your company is coming, don't wait until the last minute to prepare. Do a little each day so you are not too tired to enjoy them once they arrive.


Comment Was this helpful? 2

By 2 found this helpful
December 14, 2012

When entertaining this holiday season and you find that you are in need of an extra platter, use the glass platter that's inside your microwave oven. Works like a charm.

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By 3 found this helpful
December 27, 2010

Instead of purchasing expensive serving dishes for every holiday, place a cloth napkin over an everyday plate. You can place the plate on a cake stand for a little extra presentation. If serving foods that may stain, line with a small piece of wax paper.

If you need to purchase napkins for this tip (on sale of course) remember red works for the most holidays: Christmas, Valentine's Day, Fourth of July, etc.


By Jenifer M. from New Haven, CT

Comment Was this helpful? 3

December 18, 2010

Here are some festive and frugal ideas for crafted place markers to help you get your guests seated where you want them!

Approximate Time: 30 minutes to 2 hours



An easy way to put a personal stamp on your festive table is to craft your own place markers. They can be grouped into three basic types.

Paper and card: These include the very plain and simple folded card with the name either handwritten or created on a printer. Many free templates are available on sites like Hubpages which can be personalized.


An extension to this type of place marker is to build up layers of paper and card in colors which compliment your over all table scheme, then embellish with beads buttons or ribbon for more of a keepsake item. If there will be many children at your party, why not make simple cones from thin construction paper in complimentary colors and embellish them before adding the names of your guests.

Markers crafted from items such as baubles, crackers, and candles: The most common way to use Christmas tree baubles as place markers is to craft small tags with the names of your guests then tie them to the baubles with sparkling or colored thread. An alternative to this, is to use a fine correction fluid pen to write the name of guest directly onto a plain bauble. This method has the advantage of also creating a personalized keepsake that your guest can hang on their own tree. Christmas crackers can be treated in similar ways to those outlined for baubles. Plain or ready embellished glass tea light holders, in a variety of colors, can be bought very inexpensively from dollar shops or IKEA. They can have the names of guests applied easily using glass paint in tubes or pens.


You can also make place markers that use the novelty of edible goodies: One of the most simple but fun technique for using edibles is to fasten small gift tags to red and white striped candy canes. This is very popular with children and is particularly effective if you are using a traditional red and green table scheme. Gingerbread cookies have the advantage of being traditional Christmas fare, so are readily available in shops during the Christmas season if you do not have time to make them yourself. They can be quickly turned into place markers with sugar icing applied with a very fine nozzle on an icing bag or by using ready-made icing in tubes. Miniature paper flags bearing the names of guests, fixed to cocktail sticks or toothpicks look very effective pushed into cupcakes, especially if these have been decorated with edible silver balls or similar decorations and are also in foil cupcake cases. This method also works with clementines, satsumas, or mandarin oranges and these look particularly good if they have some glossy green leaves still attached.


There are tons of variations on all these ideas, just use your skills and imagination to help you create an unforgettable festive table!

By Mrs Christmas from Slovenia, EU

Comment Was this helpful? 2

December 3, 20041 found this helpful

When entertaining use your crockpot to heat up side dishes such as canned veggies, or use it to keep mashed potatoes or a soup warm.

Comment Was this helpful? 1

December 12, 20041 found this helpful

Small pretzel sticks make great skewers for bite-sized appetizers - nothing to throw away.

Comment Was this helpful? 1

November 1, 20040 found this helpful

I get out all the serving bowls I will need for the feast when I set out the holiday dishes. I drop a note in each bowl or platter to remind me what goes where.

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

December 20, 20040 found this helpful

Seasonal cookie cutters make great festive napkin rings and can be a little party favor, too. Just add a bright bit of ribbon or raffia.

Comment Was this helpful? Yes
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