Tips And Tricks That Will Take Your Home From Everyday To Oh-So Festive In No Time At All


From cleaning, decorating and getting organized to shopping, prepping and entertaining friends and family, the festive season comes with a super long list of to-dos.

With Christmas fast approaching we’ve pulled together a list of easy and cost effective tips and tricks that will take your home from everyday to oh-so festive in no time at all. Working room-by-room our helpful guide offers 50 ways to get your home holiday-ready. Keep checking back as we will add a new room every few days. Let the count down begin!

Living Room
1. Replace lighter throws and cushion covers with thicker, warmer winter alternatives in rich, festive colours such as burgundy and gold. Velvet, chenille and cashmere are great options as they are super cozy; perfect for cuddling up on dark winter nights.

2. Same goes for curtains; keep one pair for winter and one pair for summer. Thicker, fuller, longer curtains will act as great draft excluders as well as adding colour and texture to the room. Velvet is a great option for winter curtains – they will keep the heat in and the cold out!

3. Add a thick and colorful floor rug in front of key seating areas for warmth underfoot during the coldest months. It will feel amazing under your bare feet and if you use a complimentary color to your curtains it will pull the whole room together.

4. If you’re lucky enough to have a real fire or a log burner now’s the time to get chopping, build your logs store and get a fire going every night. Not only is it a cost effective way to heat your living room but you can’t beat a crackling fire to get you in the festive spirit.

5. Set the mood with candles. Not only to they look great but candles scented with festive flavors such as pine, cinnamon or cranberry are just divine and are great for refreshing a room – simply light 10 minutes before your guests arrive for a beautiful aroma.

6. If your living room ceiling light isn’t on a dimmer switch use table or floor lamps to create mood lighting and a more relaxed atmosphere. Alternatively use fairy lights for extra festive sparkle.

7. Pack away everyday ornaments to make way for festive alternatives or to simply declutter to make room for glasses and side plates when guests visit. Simply pack into a box and put in the attic until January.

8. If you haven’t done so already put your Christmas tree up. If you’re able to have a real tree they look incredible and smell amazing. Just don’t forget to water it daily so it’s still fresh on the 25th! It’s good to buy one with the root ball still attached so that you can plant it in the garden rather than throwing it away at the end of the holiday.

9. Run some homemade festive garlands along the mantel, door frames and atop pictures. Nothing smells like Christmas more than the scent of fresh cut pine and they’re so easy, cheap and fun to make.

10. Display your festive cards by hanging them on a make shift ‘clothes’ line by the fire. All you need is some rustic looking string or brightly colored ribbon and some festive looking mini-pegs which you can find in any good craft store. Instant color and Christmas cheer!

Dining Room
11. When it comes to festive lighting, nothing says Christmas better than candles. You can bring some holiday cheer to your dining room by placing a few on various surfaces, making sure that they’re not near anything flammable. If you’re worried about kids near open flames, you can get a few realistic looking flameless candles.

12. Bedeck the dining table with crisp linens and a seasonal runner in your Christmas color scheme. If possible get your linens, runners and napkins professionally washed and pressed – it will save you time and makes a huge difference to the overall appearance of the table. If you’re not using a table cloth don’t forget to condition and protect your wood dining table. Lots of people, children, excitement and food and drink inevitably means spills and dribbles and protection is most defiantly easier than cure!

13. Don’t forget to get in some extra seating if you have invited guests to a sit down meal. Rather than making some people balance precariously on stools that you have lying around, invest in a few basic spare chairs so everyone will have somewhere to sit. If your dining room table won’t accommodate all of your guests, consider setting up a little extra table for the kids.

14. Design an interesting table centrepiece; decorate a cake stand with little baubles in your colour scheme, display a pillar candle on top of a bed of cranberries or chestnuts inside a hurricane lantern, or fill a glass bowl with battery-powered fairy lights and place it in the centre of your dining room table. You can also decorate side tables and window sills with festive edibles such as a bowl of mixed nuts or juicy clementines.

15. The Christmas meal wouldn’t be the same without Christmas crackers. There’s no need spend your hard-earned present money on shop bought crackers with plastic toys. Try making homemade Christmas crackers and give your Christmas dinner table a personal touch. Children will love making them and everyone will love pulling them!

16. Stock up on drinks and snacks and start a ‘bar’ of treats. A well-stocked beverage station invites guests to help themselves and allows the hostess to mingle without guilt. Don’t forget to include a range of alcohol free and sugar free alternatives.

17. Following a festive meal the dining room table often becomes host to party games so make sure you’ve got a selection to hand – scrabble, uno, pictionary or a giant jigsaw puzzle are all great options. Having a range of cozy blankets and comfortable seat cushions will help keep your guests warm and comfortable.

18. Anyone who has seen the massive size of a six-pointed amaryllis bloom will not soon forget it and a bright red amaryllis screams Christmas! Force an amaryllis bulb now and enjoy over the holiday season. They also make great gifts to give to hostesses so keeping a few to hand to take with you to impromptu parties will stop the need for last minute dashes to the shops.

19. Create your own rustic evergreen centre piece for your dining table using clippings from your yard. It will be totally original and you can make it as fancy or as simple as you like to suit your decor. Use a variety of sprigs such as holly or fir tree branches to create texture, add berries and pinecones to add color and include herbs such as rosemary for an amazing natural scent.

20. Make an effort with seasonal place settings. Create layers using plates and festive linens to add decadence and take your table from everyday to holiday instantly. Mixing and matching modern everyday items with festive items and some vintage pieces looks fab and means you only have to buy a few select pieces for the holiday season

21. With the increase in amount of cooking our kitchen surfaces, butchers blocks and chopping boards take a beating over the holiday season. Ensure yours are in top condition by cleaning, sanitizing and sealing them with a nut-free, food-grade wood oil.

22. Swap your normal fridge magnets with brightly colored / flashing holiday magnets and replace the day to day paper clutter and reminders with holiday cards, family snapshots and festive children drawings to add instant Christmas cheer.

23. Make sure you’ve got plenty of plates for your guests. If you don’t have enough (or simply to save on washing up between courses) get some plain white ceramic plates from the dollar store and dress them up with brightly colored festive napkins. Ditto for glasses; get a selection of cheap colored glass wine and soda glasses, they look great and it doesn’t matter if they get broken.

24. With lots of food prep, additional treats and trays of left overs to store you always need more space in your fridge and pantry over the holidays so have a clear out now and get rid of everything you’ve not used in the last month to clear space and make room. It’s a great way to purge your fridge for the New Year too!

25. Buy extra coffee beans or good quality ground coffee so you’re never caught short. Get a versatile bean so it will suit any occasion (breakfast, with cake and for after dinner) and stash it in your freezer to keep it fresh.

26. Stock up on frozen heat-and-serve appetizers and hors d’oeuvres to serve to last minute guests. It takes the hassle out of last minute preparation or the worry of having to dash to the shops. You can either make your own in advance and freeze or simply buy pre-made pre-frozen versions. Don’t forget to have kiddy-friendly and vegetarian options available too.

27. Paper towels are a must for any at-home entertaining – not only are the perfect for use in the kitchen but they are essential for clearing up spillages. On that note its a good idea to keep a stash of rags, newspapers and spot remover on hand in case of any big spills.

28. If you have a knife sharpener spend some time sharpening all of your knives in advance so they are ready for the festive feast; it will make food prep and carving so much quicker and easier. Alternatively take all of your knives to a professional to have them sharpened – it’s cost effective, saves you time and you will have knives like new.

29. If you’ve not already done so dedicate an afternoon to baking this weekend so you’re all set for any children parties, office cookie exchanges, last minute guests or just to have a range of treats to hand over the holiday period. Home-made treats are so much better than shop bought ones and as you know exactly what’s in them you can avoid having hyperactivity kids.

30. Plan your holiday meal menu now and put together your ingredient-shopping list, breaking it into fresh, last minute ingredients and non-perishable ingredients that can be purchased in advance. The last thing you want to do is spend hours food shopping on Christmas eve so the more you can do in advance the better.

31. Give your bathroom an extra deep clean so it’s completely clean AND sanitized for your guests. Ensure mirrors and shower glass are clean and streak free and give any grimy grout a good scrubbing.

32. If your bathroom light isn’t on a dimmer switch, consider investing in one; it’s a fast and cheap upgrade and it saves energy and adds ambience.

33. Have a sort through your bathroom cupboards and draws and remove any items that you wouldn’t want anyone to see (people do peep!)

34. Clear all personal items such as makeup, hair bands, toothpaste, face wash and razor off your counter tops and vanities. The room will be easier to clean, look less cluttered, and you’ll have more space for decorative items. Also remember to pick up your bath mat and remove any family towels and dirty clothes hampers you keep in that room.

35. Keep extra hand towels out during the festive period. If you only have a one-towel ring leave a pile of extra towels or change the one towel frequently so it’s not damp. Use towels that match the decor of your room, or pull out some holiday-themed ones to add a festive touch.

36. Introduce a festive scented candle to ensure your bathroom always smells pleasant. Pick something with a light holiday scent; spice, berry blends and evergreen are always good options. If you’re not keen on leaving an unattended candle in the room, try a lighted wax warmer.

37. Throw out or store away your everyday soap bar and put out some holiday-scented liquid hand soap and some matching hand lotion for your guests.

38. Place a trash bin next to the toilet and ensure it is emptied regularly.

39. Stock up on personal essentials such as aspirin, antacid, breath mints and band-aids and put them in an emergency hospitality basket on your vanity for your guests to help themselves to.

40. Always have a couple of extra rolls of toilet paper on hand and visible so that your guests don’t need to go looking for them.

Entrance and Hallway
41. Buy or make a fresh evergreen wreath for your front door. If you buy one go for a plain one and customize yourself by adding a brightly colored, wide ribbon bow for a simple, elegant look that is totally original.

42. Keep on top of your families outdoor gear so that your entrance porch or hallway isn’t over-run with boots, shoes, scarves and coats. Provide individual baskets and boot trays for kids items to keep them all together and move outerwear to the hall closet on an ongoing basis.

43. Doormats get very dirty very fast in the colder, wetter months so put out a fresh new coconut-fibre doormat for the festive season. You can even get one with a festive design to add extra Christmas cheer.

44. It’s amazing how much dirt gets tramped into the house in bad weather. Keep extra boot trays on hand for guests to help keep your hallway floor clean and dry.

45. Hang a string a fairy lights outside your home for a festive welcome. They look great trimming the edge of roofs, wound around trees and threaded through porch railings. Ensure you choose lights designed for outdoor use so that you can rest assured that that they are fit for purpose and safe.

46. Make your hallway feel welcoming and set a festive tone. Give your hallway table a good polish and top it with a festive scented candle, a bowl of clementines or a Christmas amaryllis. If you’re worried about leaving candles unattended, use flameless candles or a lighted wax warmer.

47. Run a homemade evergreen and berry garland down the interior stairs for a bit of color and a festive feel. Alternatively use fairy lights for extra festive sparkle.

48. If it’s snowed shovel the entrance walkway and back porch or deck for guests. Hide sidewalk salt in a minimalist container so tattered bags aren’t on display on your porch.

49. Catch drafts by putting a mat or runner down by the front and all interior doors – they will help keep the heat in and the cold out!

50. Keep the cordless phone and list of local taxi companies on the hallway table so that your guests can always get home safely.

Now your homes 100% holiday-ready! Enjoy and happy holidays.

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