I have been told that denial is one of the most powerful forces against which we struggle in life. Denial can keep us in the dark about any number of very powerful realities. One of those realities I have recently had to deal with face-to-face is that the holidays are just around the corner; and no amount of denial on my part or yours will hold them at bay.This isn’t to say that I don’t like the holiday season. In fact I love the holidays! What I’m not so in love with is the feeling of being hopelessly unprepared as we race toward this most festive time of year. Whether it’s entertaining in my home, being a guest in other people’s homes, shopping, toasting, wrapping or caroling; I never seem to feel as prepared as I’d like for all the additional responsibilities the season holds.A few years ago a friend shared with me her 3 Steps to Prepare Your Home for the Perfect Holiday Season. She said she’d begun using these simple steps a few years ago and they’d made a remarkable difference in how prepared she felt as her holiday’s roared into sight.
So I’ve jotted all three down and am happy to share them with you. Let me know how much of a difference they make as you prepare for the merry season just around the corner.3 Simple Steps to Prepare Your Home for the Holiday Season:1. Divide and Conquer. Not every room in the house will come under the scrutiny of the holidays. Some rooms can (and should) remain off limits to guests. So lessen the stress level by dividing your home into three zones. “A” rooms are those into which every guest can wander during the holidays. Included in this list are the Living Room, Dining Room, Family Room, Kitchen and Powder Room. “B” rooms are rooms that might be seen by some guests but won’t be front and center when the holiday bells begin to ring. Included here are Kids Bedrooms, Secondary Bathrooms and Basement Recreation or Media Rooms. “C” rooms (such as the Master Bedroom and Bathroom and a Home Office) are discretionary spaces to be opened to the public only at the discretion of the host or hostess.Rather than get crazy stressed over every room in the house, focus on the “A” spaces and leave a little energy for the “B’s”. If you don’t get to the “C’s” it’s much easier to lock a door than to freak out completely.2. Edit, Edit, Edit. Once you have the hierarchy of rooms established and you are standing in the most important “A” space in your home, your next task is to edit out anything and everything that you can live without. A helpful rule is The Rule of 3. For any horizontal surface in a room (table top, book shelf, mantel piece) you are allowed exactly 3 decorative items (books always count as 1 regardless of how many are present). Your inner decorator may shriek at this suggestion but remember; holiday decorations have yet to be brought into the room. What may feel like a barren wasteland of a mantel piece will shortly be draped in holly, bedecked with candles and, doubtless, be sprinkled with pine-cones, berries and bows. Give yourself a clear, clean canvas on which to display your holiday decorations to their best effect.
3. Light Your Way To Success. Remembering that many favorite holiday decorating elements include illumination (twinkle lights, candles… etc.) it’s time to add restraint to the general lighting scheme of your room. Reduce the wattage of bulbs in use in your chandeliers, sconces, table and floor lamps. For any overhead lights bring the dimmer down to a low setting and if you don’t have dimmers (and you really should) turn them off. Nothing will wash out an otherwise successfully decorated holiday room than by having the lights similar to a prison yard turned on overhead; washing out every bit of holiday delight. Use the ‘candlelight rule’ as a guide. If, when fully lit (including your holiday decorations), the room has the glow of candlelight then you’ve got the lighting exactly where it wants to be.
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