Are you ready for Christmas? It’s an undoubtedly busy period, with 18% of Brits feeling Christmas is a stressful time. But, with a little bit of extra planning, you can make sure the big day goes smoothly.
Whether you’re transforming your home into a winter wonderland or going for a more minimalist look, here are our 7 tips to help you deck your halls in time for the festivities.
1. Clean and declutter
We’ve all heard of the big Spring clean, but how about another seasonal spruce during the winter? Before you start hanging wreaths and decorating the tree, make sure your home is the perfect canvas for your Christmas décor. Take this as your opportunity to clean your house from top to bottom, clearing out cupboards or packing away old ornaments to make way for new ones.
If you find yourself with bags full of trinkets you no longer love, you might be able to sell second-hand items on an online marketplace such as eBay to bag a bit of extra cash just in time for Christmas. Remember, just because it’s an old toy or gift you no longer want or use doesn’t mean it isn’t exactly what someone else is looking for.
2. Prep your kitchen
The kitchen is the space of the season. It’s likely to be where guests congregate while your festive feast is cooking, so don’t leave it until the last minute to make sure your kitchen is exactly as you’d like it. For example:
- Clear out the fridge and freezer so you’re ready to store any fresh food
- Thoroughly clean your oven, microwave, dishwasher and cupboards
- Make sure you have all the kitchen essentials you need, such as spices and other cupboard staples
- Check all your appliances are working as they should be. If your oven’s on the blink, you may wish to get it repaired or replaced
- Consider setting up a drinks and nibbles station away from the main kitchen prep area. Guests can help themselves without disturbing you while you’re in cooking mode
3. Think ahead
It’s easy to get caught up in the magic of the moment and skip past the practicalities. But if you only have four dining chairs but six people coming over for Christmas dinner, now’s the time to do something about it.
You might find there are plenty of pre-Christmas deals and discounts out there at this time of year. So if you’re looking for bed linen for your guest room or a bigger purchase such as a piece of living room furniture then why not browse retailer offers?
4. Create a snug atmosphere
Decorating your home for the festive season is more than simply hanging baubles on a Christmas tree – you’ll want to create a warm and welcoming vibe that visitors will love.
You can do this by dotting flameless candles around your main living spaces, such as on your coffee table, as well as adding colourful throws and cushions to your sofa.
Our home makeover guide has some more tips on how to put a cosy twist on your decorations.
5. Plan a stylish Christmas table
You’ve likely got your festive placemats sorted and a captivating centrepiece ready to be the talking point of the table. But why not make things a little more personal? Create your own place cards – or ask your little ones to get creative – to add a thoughtful touch.
Our top tip is to make sure the table is set at least the day before you’re due to host. It’ll save you a job on the day – and it will be much less stressful than trying to co-ordinate cooking and creating a beautiful dining table.
6. Show off your wrapping skills
A Christmas tree only gets its finishing touch once all the presents are tucked under it. It’s up to you whether you add presents to the pile as and when you buy them (wrapped up of course!) or wait to place all your presents underneath the tree together on Christmas Eve.
One thing you definitely do want to think about, though, is how you present your presents!
Bright wrapping paper, bows, ribbons and stickers will make your gifts stand out. But you don’t need to splash the cash to create the same show-stopping effect.
Your guests may appreciate more sustainable wrapping ideas, such as turning old Christmas cards into tags or using recycled Kraft paper to wrap your gifts (old newspapers or maps work just as well!). You can make some beautiful gifts out of mason jars too – simply fill them up with homemade biscuits or sweets for an eye-catching pressie under the tree.
Turn your wrapping session into a game by aiming for zero waste. If you find yourself with a section of leftover paper, layer it together with another style or design to create a funky half and half effect instead of throwing it away.
7. Give your outdoor space some love
Don’t wait until your guests have stepped over the threshold to be impressed. Decorate the entrance to your home to bring festive cheer to all who walk by.
Start by selecting an eye-catching wreath to add some kerb appeal. It’s also a good idea to consider some outdoor lighting, such as solar spotlights or fairy lights to make the main pathway to your home more inviting.
Remember - Christmas isn’t all about giving
It’s about spending time with your loved ones. You may choose to take part in a Secret Santa-style exchange to minimise how many gifts you have to buy, craft homemade gifts or take inspiration from our cheap but cheerful present ideas.
But do remember that your friends and family will be grateful for the effort and thought you put into the celebrations – not how much you spend.