It can seem daunting to have the family over for the holidays. Whether you are at your home, or if you are celebrating the holidays in an assisted living community, the pressure to be a good host for their visit can be overwhelming. No matter where you are, having guests can make you feel frantic. Here is a list of ways to prepare for family so everyone—including you— has a happy and carefree holiday.
Get Overnight Plans in Order Early
If your family is planning on staying overnight, either for one night or for a few days, the earlier you get plans together the better. Make sure you have a head count for how exactly many guests are coming, and make sure you have the rooms, beds, or couches that you need if you are planning on having family stay with you.
If you don’t have the space (or don’t want the headache), booking a hotel is a great way to make sure your family is close, but not too close. The earlier you start looking at prices and booking rooms, the less expensive and less competitive shopping for rooms will be. While it’s too late to get November rates, it still helps everyone avoid traveling stress to have plans made well in advance.
Spruce Up Your Home
Sprucing up your home, whether that’s rearranging furniture to make room for opening presents or just making sure everything is nice and clean, is a great way to get ready for family. Make sure that the kitchen, bathrooms, and living spaces are guest-ready, and your place is looking fresh.
If you are in a new place for the holidays, then having your place ready to go will make a great first impression on family, and it will help you feel good as well to know that your home was appreciated. Having your space looking nice can help you feeling less stressed and more welcoming.
Get Out the Decorations
Celebrate the season with fun decorations! A small tree, fun and festive lights, winter-scented bath soaps, red and green kitchen towels, holiday knick knacks, and other decorations can help your home shine extra bright. Traveling family will appreciate walking into a home that looks ready for all the festivities, and it can help spread the holiday spirit among tired family.
Plan Activities in Advance
While you might have your own daily activities, making sure you have enough things planned to fill the days with family is just as important. Crafts and other activities can help keep everyone engaged, especially if you have younger ones visiting.
Some ideas for activities include:
Homemade christmas cards
Cookie cutter ornaments
Gingerbread houses (if you don’t have the time to make gingerbread, many stores sell kits so you can get right into the decorating fun!)
A holiday movie night
Caroling (this can work especially well in an assisted living community, and your neighbors will love the music you and your family bring.)
Play Holiday Music
Another way to set the holiday atmosphere is to play holiday music. If you are tech-savvy—or have a helpful grandchild—making a holiday playlist on a music streaming service is a good way to keep the spirit bright. Have everyone send you a list of their favorite holiday songs, and combine them together so everyone can enjoy.
Get Out of the House
If you have family coming for several days, then you might need to plan something bigger than gingerbread. See what local activities your community is planning for the holidays, like a holiday play or music concerts. Window shopping, holiday parades, Santa’s village, or driving around to look at light displays are all ways to get the most out of the holidays, and get out of the house for a bit.
Make a Sweet Treat
You may already know the best ways for you to eat right this winter, but the holidays can be a time to be a little naughty. It’s always best to have meals planned out beforehand to save yourself time and stress, and having something homemade is another way to enjoy holiday fun. Something as simple as cookies any senior can make is a great way to show the family you care. And everyone can get involved in the baking or decorating!
The holidays can be a stressful time, even without the added pressure of entertaining family. Being prepared in advance is the best way to ensure that you aren’t scrambling at the last minute. Having family over can mean a lot of prep work on your part, but the memories you create and the joy that you can spread among those you love the most will make it all worth it.