For many, the holiday season tends to be a big source of stress. There’s shopping to do, traffic to endure, weather changes to manage, and the possibility of hosting a family event. Yes, holiday visitors can be stressful, but there are methods to dealing with that stress.
This first step tends to be the most stressful, but it’s also the most important because having good information will exponentially aid with all holiday preparations. Who’s coming, and what are their intentions when they arrive? Is this a one-day visit or a week-long occupation? Do they want to stay with you, or have they set up their own holiday headquarters at a nearby hotel? Do they plan on exchanging gifts, or do they just want a generous helping at dessert? The more you find out ahead of time, the better prepared you’ll be for their arrival.
What will you need to have on hand when the guests arrive? Even if they’re only planning to show up for one dinner, you’ll still need to have pre-meal snacks, ice, a variety of drinks, and probably some containers for any leftovers.
But don’t forget the other, less obvious necessities like hand soap, toilet paper, garbage bags, and cleaning supplies for a variety of potential party fouls. And because some of these supplies have been harder to come by this year, the sooner you know what to expect from your guests, the sooner you can figure out what you’ll need.
It used to be that pre-holiday shopping meant a ringside view of a fight over who got the biggest TV, but don’t be surprised if this year there’s a brawl over the Brawny.
If planning for a holiday visit were like a war movie, this would be the part where the traps get built and the weapons get loaded.
However, successfully preparing for holiday visitors requires the host to remember the visitors will be guests, not an invasion force. In other words, they want to see you, and you (probably) want to see them, too. So don’t be resentful about the preparations, and don’t be afraid to shake up your preparation schedule to better suit your day-to-day requirements.
If the house needs to be cleaned, don’t try to get all of it done the day before the guests arrive. Get the exterior dealt with first, and save the interior chores like cleaning and getting fresh linens for the end.
So maybe don’t dig that tiger pit in the front yard unless your visiting cousin wants to bring an actual tiger for dinner.
Once all the work gets done, the hardest part of a holiday visit might be discussion topics, especially since there will be a presidential election this year. But just refer to Step 1: you know your guests, and you know their feelings and temperaments. Don’t be afraid to end a conversation before it gets heated, and remind everyone the holidays should be a time of thanksgiving and peace.
Also, it’s your home, so you get to make the rules.