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Clear The Decks For The Decorations

Every year without fail the Christmas rush creeps up on us, always seeming quicker than ever before. As soon as Halloween is over I feel like instantly we all turn our attention to Christmas and with just seven weeks to go, it is obvious why. After the chaos of last year, it seems as if we all have plenty of catching up to do with friends and family, without the worry of lockdowns and covid restrictions. It is therefore essential we have Christmas under control this year, with everything prepared in order to make the festive time as stress free as possible...she says! Below I have provided some of our top tips for you to help get your home in order ready for the big day.

Toys Purge

Now that my girls are in their 20's, I haven't had to take part in the dreaded toy purge for a good few years now. But when the girls were younger we would start to get rid of old toys at the start of November, before we got busy with Christmas events in December. I would create 3 piles - Keep, donate/recycle and bin. A good way to approach this with children was to explain that we were making way for all their new toys, this got them excited so they were a little more laid back when it came to donate their toys. It was also good for them to know we were giving toys away to other children who would otherwise have very little to play with at Christmas time, which was really rewarding.

Make Way For The Feast 

To make room for the feast that is Christmas dinner, let's start organising the kitchen. Get rid of any out of date food and make sure to try and use anything that is getting close to expiry. Herbs and spices don't keep forever, so if they don't smell fresh they will not add flavour to your food - throw them out. It's a good idea to give the cupboards and shelves a clean whilst organising, this will allow you to know what foods you do have in or what you need to replenish. 

Year upon year, my fridge and freezer is filled to the max, so clearing them out before the big day is probably the most important job on my list. If I haven't cleaned the oven in a while then I will always give it a good clean too, oven pride is amazing for the racks. 

A job you can give to the teenagers, is to polish glassware and crockery with white vinegar. This will give your Christmas table some added luxury shine.

Guest Bedroom 

I'm lucky in the fact my immediate family all live close by, so it's not often that I have guests stay over for the Christmas period. However, when spending the big day with our family from Scotland, I always make sure that the spare bedroom is cosy and welcoming for them. Normally, I will fill a Wicker Basket up with towels and spare bed sheets and a few extra toiletries in the bathroom just so they feel comfortable and don't have to ask me for things whilst they're staying. 

Bathroom Tidy 

Once again, anything out of date or you don't use anymore then get rid. Similarly, anything that you don't want guests to see then hide that out of the way too. Having a decluttered and clean bathroom, will allow guests to relax and feel at home. You personally will feel so much better for it too. 

Nearer the time of guests arriving, ensure you have plenty of toiletries over the Christmas period for everyone to use. Any duplicated products, place in a little basket and store in a cupboard in the bathroom. 

Living Room 

It's time to prepare the living room for the main event – the Christmas tree. Pull all the furniture in to the centre of the room and hoover the entire floor, the sofa and don't forget under the cushions too. 

During the year, the tv is most likely the focal point of the living room however, consider allowing the tree to be prime focus over the festive period. A 6 or 7 foot tree will take up a lot of space in this room so having a little move about with furniture and maybe storing away any little tables will be a good idea. This will avoid the space appearing cluttered, especially when presents start to to mount up and guests arrive. 

Also, don't forget to give the chimney a good sweep for a smooth arrival of St. Nicholas and make sure the log burner and hearth is clean. 

Dining Room 

Once you've got your final numbers for Christmas dinner, let's start thinking of how everyone is going to fit around the table. You may need to borrow some chairs and a table from another room or family member's home. Nothing a table cloth won't cover so don't worry if you have to use two tables, it will also add a bit of quirkiness to the setting 

For a deep clean of the house, I normally use the checklist from my Spring Clean Blog post. I try to keep to my list as best I can, but we all know how hectic this period can be, so maybe just use it as a skeleton plan. That way 24 hours before guests arrive, a quick clean and tidy around the house will be more than enough as the tough work has already been done. 

I like to set my dining table in advance on Christmas Eve. This saves time on the day, meaning I can enjoy time with the family and start preparing Christmas dinner.

I hope this helps you and your family have a smooth and stress free run up to Christmas and to remember that everything won't be perfect and at the end of the day it's one day of the year.