With the winter holidays coming up (and all of the gift-giving, decorating, cooking, and planning that go along with them), and in some regions snow and ice to contend with, December is a busy month indeed. Keep your home running smoothly by focusing on a few necessary tasks and simplify holiday prep to make the most of the season.
Boost cheer. If you plan to decorate your home for the holidays, now is the time to start thinking about putting up the lights and greenery. If the process is leaving you feeling more overwhelmed than filled with holiday cheer, remember that less can definitely be more — a lovely wreath on the door and twinkle lights on the porch are festive and simple to pull off.
Get organized for holiday cooking and baking. Sort through cookware, baking pans, cooking tools, and serving dishes, and make a list of anything you need to buy before hosting this holiday season. Take kitchen knives in to be sharpened.
Set up a simple gift-wrapping station. A few rolls each of paper, ribbon, and tape, plus a small basket of pens and gift tags, are all you really need to make a functional gift-wrapping station. Use an umbrella holder or metal bucket to hold tall rolls of gift wrap, and a paper towel holder to wrangle unruly rolls of ribbon.
Don’t try to do it all. It’s easy to get overwhelmed during the holiday season. Make things a bit simpler by focusing on the projects and activities you know you will really enjoy and cut out as many of the stress-inducing items on your list as possible. And there’s no need to throw out a tradition entirely just because you want to simplify. For instance, to simplify holiday cookies, you could bake just one type of cookie instead of six, or use store-bought cookie dough but bake and decorate them yourself.
Do a postholiday tidy-up. Takedown holiday decor and store it until next year. Recycle packaging and used gift wrap, and re-roll ribbon if you want to use it again. If you have kids after the holidays can be a good time to pare back by removing some less-often-used toys (that are still in good shape) and donating them to charity. The same goes for grown-ups, too — if you received a few new sweaters as gifts, check through your old sweaters and see if there are a few you can give away to make space for the new.
Be sure your home is ready for guests. Touch up scuff marks. Put a fresh coat of paint on the walls in the guest room. Take care of any repairs near the entry or in high traffic areas. Tight on time? Take advantage of the special winter rates Korth & Shannahan Painting and Carpentry is offering. Voted Best General Contractor by Westchester Magazine.