Since it’s November, that means the holidays are just around the corner, and it’s not too soon to start planning ahead if you’re hosting family and friends.  After all, the more you plan and do now, the more you can relax this month and in December, and that’s always a good thing!

Today I’m going to focus on small things you can do to get your home ready for the holidays.  Certainly this is a great time of year to start on larger projects, like painting rooms, renovating bathrooms, and changing out carpet and hardwood, but even smaller updates can make a big difference in how comfortable and welcoming your home is.

It makes sense to prioritize and work on areas your guests will see:  the kitchen, living and dining rooms, and guest room and bath.  Here are a few tips for each of those spaces.


  • Clean, organize, and purge–this is the time of year when you need to be able to easily put your hands on your kitchen tools.  Do you need to purchase a new roasting pan?  Clean the oven?  Run some lemons and ice cubes through the garbage disposal?  Create a checklist and knock your to-do list out one by one.
  • Set up a coffee bar so your guests can caffeinate themselves in the morning.  A few pretty mugs, sugar and creamer, and a variety of coffees and teas will satisfy everyone.


And if you’re hosting kids, a hot chocolate or hot cider station is lots of fun, too.



living room

  • Take a look around your living areas to determine what you need to make things cozy (this is where my husband would suggest a larger TV with surround sound!).  If it’s time for a new couch and that’s in the budget, go for it.  If not, buy a few new throw pillows and warm blankets.  And a few games that are fun for large groups are always useful!
  • If you have carpet, schedule a professional cleaning.  It will look wonderful and make your entire home look and smell cleaner. There’s also plenty of time to order the carpet care kit from Mohawk Flooring.
  • Make sure you have enough seating for guests.  A bench is a perfect solution since it can be moved to where it’s needed, or used as an impromptu coffee table or luggage rack.




This is the dining room’s big moment!  Is yours ready to go?

  • Make sure your table and chairs are ready for company.  If you have fabric covered seats, give them a coat of fabric protector to repel spills and stains.  One year, I took a paintbrush to my table and chairs right before Thanksgiving to cover some moving damage (read more here).  It worked out great!


dining room table chairs painted white monogram
  • Instead of a traditional centerpiece, put a tray in the center of your table and fill it with a few holiday elements, but also practical items like dessert plates, napkins, and salt and pepper shakers.  You’ll be ready to host at the drop of a hat!
  • If you need new dishes or serving pieces, check the thrift shops.  I always find great silver and crystal pieces there for unbeatable prices.
  • Buy a new set of cloth napkins or chargers.  I always use white plates, but napkins and chargers allow me to make the table look different every time.


Christmas tablescape


guest room

This is a great time to take inventory of what you need to make your guest room welcoming and comfortable.  Here are a few of my favorite ideas:

  • Replace towels, linens, and pillows if needed.  I usually find great deals on these items at stores like TJ Maxx and HomeGoods.
  • If your mattress has seen better days and you can’t afford to replace it, try a memory foam topper.  They’re relatively inexpensive and SO comfortable.
  •  Check out {this} post I wrote last year on being a great host or hostess; there’s a long list of things that I stock in my guest room and bathroom.
  • If you have room to set up a small coffee bar in your guest room, all the better.  Everyone needs a little bit of space during the holidays, and that morning dose of caffeine goes a long way towards making everyone get along nicely.
Guest room | 11 Magnolia Lane

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Final New Christy headshot 2015


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