The holidays are always a stressful stressful time and really they should be the most enjoyable of the year. Family and friends getting together shouldn't cause our anxiety rise and migraines to come upon us. So here are my best holiday tips from someone who has massive amounts of anxiety when people visit. I can become a very unpleasant person in fact prior to house guests.
So how do we make the holidays pleasant? For one let go of perfection. Do what you enjoy and do it well. If you like cooking, cook up a storm. Baking? Go nuts! What if you are not a fan of either? Plan ahead and keep it simple. Don't spend hours on something you find entirely stressful. Your guests want to spend time with you they are not going to care if your appetizers are top notch.
I love to decorate and do all the little touches for my guest room so that's where my energy goes. I cook ahead what I can because it's not my favourite thing to do and this year baking has been minimized too because I just don't have the time or inclination. Focus on what you enjoy and your guests will enjoy it too. Store bought muffins won't kill anyone... I think.
Plan ahead as much as you can. I have tried to break down little chores for the last couple of weeks so that the day or so before people come over I'm not panicking. If your guests feel like you are stressed out it's hard for them to enjoy themselves. No one wants to feel like an inconvenience.
If you are a bit uptight like me (uptight is the nicest way to put it) this may help you. I like things a certain way so I stress out over little things that a normal person probably wouldn't even consider. Because I like things to look a certain way I have planned ahead for my own craziness. I have an empty drawer in our only bathroom. This way guests stuff is out of our way and contained as well as a shower caddy. I have towel hooks designated for guests so my bathroom stays relatively the same. When you have a small space it's nice to still feel like there is a semblance of order. It's minor things but for me they make a huge difference.
Now given I LOVE to do the "bed and breakfast" type things I created a guest binder. We decided to name our house "Millie's Cottage" after Millicent who was the original owner of our 1920's home.
In it I put our address and closest intersection, as well as our internet passwords. I also have a breakfast menu, and since it's Christmas I put a Christmas picture in with a small calendar of what we'll be doing over the holidays while our guests are here. I have always wanted a guest room so doing things like this was a blast!
I also created a guest basket full of bath things, tooth brushes, cotton balls and q-tips. Also men and women's deodorant, shampoo and a sleep mask.
Because our home reminds me of a Jane Austen novel I have lined the book shelves with her books and I ordered a print of a Pride and Prejudice quote from Etsy for above the bed. Who doesn't love Mr.Darcy? These are the things I love to do and hopefully our guests can enjoy.
Finally something about hospitality is that we are teaching our children what it means to be hospitable. So when we are running around freaking out about visitors (which believe me I am an expert on) I'm teaching my son that hospitality is stressful. That friends and family are stressful. I'm basically teaching him that none of this is fun which is a horrible message and one I need to work on constantly. I don't want him to think the holidays are when everyone yells at each other and mommy is crying over spilled milk. Literally.
So from me to you I wish you and yours a wonderful holiday and that you enjoy the warmth and company the holidays brings your way.
" Christmas is a season for kindling the fire for hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart."
Happy Holidays! Jessa, xx