Holidays are my favorite. They can be stressful, but thank goodness over the years I have come up with a better method to prepare than my old one. My old one? It was called "shove everything out of sight, stay up all night the night before cleaning and cooking, and hope guests show up twenty minutes late to give me time to change." My new one? It looks like this.
1. Plan out decor, food, and drinks one week (or more!) in advance.
List out the shopping lists properly- divided by department and store. Decide if you'd like to premix drinks and have a specific cocktail or have red wine, white wine, cider, beer available. (This week I will share a drink I recommend!) Remember to pick up flowers a day or two before you host to give the flowers time to open and be at their best.
2. Do a deep clean of the house two days in advance.
This means that the day before and morning of all you need to do is give things a quick once over, vacuum, and sweep. I say two days only because that gives you a little extra time if you were a bit optimistic with your cleaning. If you get almost everything set two days ahead, you'll have time the day before to iron the tablecloth and napkins!
3. Set the table the day before.
When you set the table the day before, you have time to make placecards, find wherever your husband put that serving platter that he didn't put back in it's proper location, and clean and polish the candlesticks. I like to set post it or cards on top of the serving trays on the table so that the next day when I have friends helping me cook and dish up the food we all know what goes where. It really helps when you don't have to stop whisking the gravy to pull out extra serving spoons and find a different serving dish because someone accidentally put the turnips where the stuffing was supposed to go.
4. Prep whatever possible in the kitchen the night before.
Peel the carrots, chop the veggies, rip up the bread for the stuffing, and set the roasting pan on the stove. This helps more than you realize, and allows you to spend more time with guests. Don't forget to set out the turkey!
Trust me. This makes hosting a holiday a whole lot easier. You will be less stressed and have more fun if you do a little prep-work. Now that you know what to do, get to planning!