In today’s post we’ll talk about my tips for what to do just before your holiday dinner to make sure things go off without a hitch!
When you’re hosting family and friends for a holiday dinner, you always want things to be as perfect as possible. You want the food to be delicious, the atmosphere to be festive, and for everyone to have a great time. All of that takes a lot of planning, preparation, and careful consideration, as you know. Today I thought it would be fun to chat about some of the final things that are really helpful to do in those final moments before your holiday dinner guests arrive. These are kind of the finishing touches on all of the hard work that you’ve done to get ready for hosting and just add that little bit of extra polish (sometimes literally) to your evening. Doing these things also always help me to feel a little more relaxed too because I’m able to see that everything really is taken care of, so I can focus on enjoying my guests.
What to Do Just Before Your Holiday Dinner
Make it a habit to do these few things in the final hour or so before everyone arrives at your house.
Polish Your Glass Front Door (if you have one)
We do have glass doors at our front door and at the side door to the mudroom that we use most often. There’s nothing like thinking that your house is spotless and you’re making a great impression, then realizing that your front door is covered in fingerprints just as you go to open the door for your guests. Oops. This is a good one to double check right before people arrive because you really want your front door to set a welcoming tone to start the evening/day off right. I love to use the e-cloth window genie on my glass door because I can just wet one side with water only, wipe the glass, then flip it over to dry and polish. It only takes a few seconds and I know my door will always be streak-free with this tool.
Polish Wine and Water Glasses
This is kind of an old-fashioned touch that I don’t think a lot of people take the time to do anymore, but it’s definitely worthwhile! Dishwashers can sometimes leave water spots, or even specks of food on wine glasses so it’s a good idea to just polish your glasses by hand quickly before you set them out. My favourite polishing cloth for anything polish-able is the e-cloth polishing cloth because it just leaves any surface perfectly clean and lint-free with almost no effort. I just usually wet the corner of a clean polishing cloth and wipe each glass down with that, then dry and polish with the dry sections of the cloth. If I have the time though, I like to steam the glass over a pot of boiling water before drying with the polishing cloth, the way I was taught when I was working in banquets in a fancy hotel when I was a teenager. It feels very Downton abbey to me and it’s honestly just fun. 🙂
Empty the Dishwasher, Prep for Handwashing
You’ve probably been dirtying dishes all day and you’re going to be doing it some more, so you want to be prepared to deal with them quickly and efficiently when the meal is done so you can get back to spending time with your guests. (I recommend a game of Christmas song charades! :)) Having an empty dishwasher makes it easy to throw anything dish-washer-able in there right away after the meal is done, before you really even have time to think about how much there is to clean up. Of course, there will be some things that will need to be hand washed, like fancy serving dishes and china, and you’ll probably have a few people ready to help out. Have everything set up and ready to go so they can just jump in. Make sure your dish soap is out and visible and you have something for them to wash with. I like the e-cloth washing up pad because it’s small, but effective. It’s kind of a sponge, dishcloth, and a gentle scouring pad all in one and it doesn’t look messy sitting out on the edge of your sink. Bonus points for preparation if you have a stack of clean tea towels out on the counter for whoever is going to dry, as well as a sink full of warm, soapy water all ready to go.
Set the Tone: Light a Candle or Set Up a Simmer Pot
I always say that a home that smells clean, feels clean – and you definitely want your home to feel clean when you have guests coming over. Something as simple as lighting a scented candle or even setting up a simmer pot on a low temperature on the stove can really create a great atmosphere in your home. Make sure that you use scented candles from a company that you trust to avoid any unnecessary harsh chemicals being put into the air in your home. A simmer pot with some cinnamon, cloves, and vanilla is a great natural solution that most people will have the supplies for in their pantry, but just keep in mind that you’ll need to keep an eye on it while it simmers on the stove. Add more water throughout the day/evening to prevent the pot from boiling down to nothing.
Get Yourself Ready
The last thing that you should definitely make sure that you take time for is to get yourself ready before your guests arrive. Not only will you feel more relaxed and prepared to be a great host, you’ll make your guests feel much more comfortable as well. One of my pet peeves is arriving at a party or get-together, only to have the host say that they just need to hop in the shower and get ready before getting started. Make sure you’ve got everything ready ahead of time, including yourself so you can focus on having a great time.
If you really want to be the hostess with the mostess, there are a few things that I like to do to be extra prepared for anything that might come my way during a get-together. Things like putting a fresh mop cloth on your mop and having it ready for any spills, or setting out some fresh cloths put out in a tidy, folded pile will ensure that any messes that happen can be dealt with quickly and easily and keep you feeling stress-free. I like that my e-cloth deep clean mop is light-weight and sleek enough to be tucked away in a corner without being noticed so I can always have it within arm’s reach when needed.
Thanks so much to e-cloth for getting me set up for all of my holiday cleaning needs this year! 🙂
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.