If you are responsible for hosting holiday festivities, chances are you’ll probably spend this weekend trying to figure out how to fit guests comfortably in your home. While entertaining can be fun, it’s also a time when metal chairs are dusted off, table leaves are unpacked, and spaces are reconfigured to accommodate a crowd. This is also the time when homeowners start thinking about future remodeling projects and how they can make updates to create more space for people to gather. With that in mind, here are a few of my favorite holiday hosting hacks to make life a little easier this Christmas.
Keep the chef sane. The kitchen is always a major attraction for people to congregate to see what’s cooking, help with clean-up, or just to linger for a chat. This type of gathering can be stressful for a holiday chef on the move, so it’s nice to have a plan to keep people out of the way. I like to create temporary seating in eyesight but away from the cooking area itself using a few chairs, benches, or even a spare sofa. This will accommodate guests who want to be part of the action while keeping them away from the food preparation.
Make a holiday cocktail for all. Festive sangria, mulled wine, or spiced cider are all great options that will please a crowd without having to spend a fortune on too many different types of beverages. Plus, a punch or winter warmer encourages guests to serve themselves, allowing the hosts to be more focused on food, fun and other aspects of entertaining.
Keep the fridge functional. Speaking of drinks, don’t let lots of small items such as bottles and cans, condiments you’re not using, and old leftovers take up valuable real estate. Set up a cooler on the back deck for beer, water, and soft drinks, and hide another one away to store the day-to-day items that you won't need for Christmas. With so many ingredients to keep cool, every square inch of space can be useful in some way.
Give the oven an upgrade. Somehow there is never enough space for everything that needs to be cooked. While kitchen remodels are certainly off the table for this time of year, a simple three-tiered oven rack is a great way to increase your capacity instantly. It’s like having a double oven and is the perfect solution to get plenty of pies and sides in with that turkey or ham.
Don’t forget to de-ice. You never know what kind of weather Christmas can bring so be sure to be prepared with plenty of salt or sand for the driveway, sidewalks, and walkways. It’s also a good idea to have de-icer on hand for your guest’s windshields in case it snows while the party is in full swing.
On a personal note, it’s been a wonderful year and I want to wish you all a safe, happy holiday season and a fantastic 2019. Merry Christmas!
Bob O’Donnell is the owner of O’Donnell Bros. Inc., a Bristol-based home improvement company established in 1975. Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Ask the Pro.” All questions may be considered for publication. To contact Bob for your remodeling needs, call O’Donnell Bros. Inc. at (860) 589-5155 or visit http://www.odonnellbros.com. Advice is for guidance only.