It’s Holiday Crunch Time!
It’s Crunch Time! Christmas is less than two weeks away and soon Santa and guests will be descending upon your home! We have some tips to help you get ready for the season on a budget as well as some suggestions for getting organized to make next year’s holiday season even easier. CDC—clean, decorate, and corral!
Entryway. Your entryway is the first thing that guests see. Wipe down the front door, sweep the porch and steps, shake outdoor mats, and remove any cobwebs that may be lurking. The cobwebs just don’t have the same appeal that they did on October 31!
Kitchen. Food is usually the highlight of holiday gatherings. Guests tend to gather around food (or the Cook!) so make sure your kitchen looks and smells nice!
Give the refrigerator and freezer a good cleaning with a solution of hot water and baking soda. Make sure to get the crumbs and gunk in cracks and crevices that can harbor food smells. Clean out items that are expired or you don’t use. Make room for the fabulous food and leftovers that come with this time of year! An open box of baking soda stashed in the back of the fridge will help keep odors at bay during the many trips to the fridge this season.
Stove-tops and ovens are bound to get dirty with all the baking and food preparation of the Christmas season. The same baking soda solution used to clean the refrigerator can be used to scrub off baked-on gunk on the stove-top or in the oven.
Your garbage disposal will likely be getting a lot of use with all the cooking and baking. Freshen up the disposal by processing a cut-up lemon—rind and all—in the disposal. Fill the disposal with ice and sprinkle with baking soda. With the disposal running, pour a stream of boiling water over the ice. The ice will sharpen the blades and the boiling water and baking soda will help to clean and freshen the pipes.
Bathrooms. Take the time to really give your bathroom a good, deep clean. One good deep clean about a week before the holiday will allow you to do a quick clean-up when you are busy with other tasks the day that you are expecting guests. Have a candle burning and air freshener available during events to keep the bathroom smelling fresh.
There is something quite magical about holiday decorations! The sights and scents of Christmas tend to evoke wonderful memories and add warmth like nothing else can. It can also be quite easy to spend a small fortune on decorations that are only used a few weeks of the year!
The dollar store can be a gold mine for inexpensive, but fabulous, supplies for Christmas décor. Jennifer Geddes gives some great ideas for decorating on a dime in this article. Fishbowls, figurines, mason jars, ornaments, wrapping paper, and ribbon are all used to create beautiful decorations on a budget.
One of my favorite craft ideas from the article that I have used in the past is to use a wire coat hanger and plastic ornaments to make a wreath. Leave the hook of the hanger intact for hanging the wreath and use pliers to untwist the wire at the neck of the hanger. Shape the hanger into a circle and thread ornaments onto the frame. Twist the neck back together and attach a bow. You may need some hot glue to anchor ornaments in place and keep them from shifting or popping off of the ornament top.
Corral (aka, Storage!)
Once you have all of these great decorations and it is time to pack everything away, take a few extra minutes to organize everything before putting it away for the season. Simple storage solutions NOW will make next year’s decorating much easier!
Instead of scouring the house to find the decorations that you stashed here and there and anywhere you could find a spot, store everything in the same area to save time for next year. If you are fortunate enough to have an extra small closet, that’s fantastic! But it can also be an out-of-the-way corner of the basement, a utility room, or a section of the pantry or attic. Having everything in one central location makes fast work of getting ready to decorate.
Once you have designated a space, clear bins are a huge time-saver! No more opening each bin to find what you are looking for—because we all know that no one paid attention to the existing labels when they were packing stuff up last year. . . . A quick scan of the space and you can easily see the items in their respective boxes.
Hang your wreaths to store them. There is nothing more discouraging than getting out your favorite holiday wreath only to find that it was crushed or broken by other decorations. Use pot hanger hooks and hang the wreaths from a clothing rod. No need to have a separate closet for wreaths—simply add a second bar to an existing coat closet!
Take advantage of some simple cleaning tasks and decorating-on-a-dime to enjoy this season, but don’t forget to plan ahead for next year and create some storage options to make next year even more enjoyable! We hope that during this busy time of year you can take some time to relax and reflect and enjoy the beauty of the season!