There’s a popular series of commercials on TV right now that show a super cool celebrity or athlete enjoying the great aspects of a particular product, while a goofier, less-cool version of that celebrity/athlete is stuck with the (ostensibly less-cool) competing product. The celebrity spokesperson always says, “Don’t be this me.”
Friends, I’m not super cool or famous, but they could TOTALLY make that kind of commercial about me. Instead of promoting a product, though, my commercial would show a calm, cool, and collected version of myself who didn’t procrastinate when it came time for holiday planning. The “prepared” me would have a clean and beautifully decorated house and gifts all bought before Christmas Eve. The “procrastinator” me would be rushing around at the last minute trying to get everything done.
Try as I might, I’m never 100 percent prepared for the holidays—who is, really? But I’m getting better every year as I learn from the previous season’s biggest stumbling blocks. So for today’s blog post, I’ve put together my top five tricks for prepping for the holidays, from lessons I’ve learned the hard way!
Tip #1: Save Time and Money by Spot Cleaning
We got a puppy last Christmas—great for the family, disastrous for the carpets. I’ve done my best to treat pet stains as quickly and thoroughly as possible, of course, but there’s nothing like the thought of other people in my house to make me look a little more critically at the condition of my poor carpets. I should have had the carpets professionally cleaned already, but I didn’t, and I don’t want to spend the money on a full service right before the holidays.
My solution? I decided to invest in a SpotBot, which I found for a great price at Tuesday Morning! It’s far more affordable than a full-size steam cleaner and easier to use to boot.
Now I can tackle stains right away, without a lot of hassle!
Cleaning is never fun, but Tuesday Morning has a great selection of specialty cleaning supplies to make the job a little easier to swallow.
Tip #2: Get Cozy with New Bedding and Throws
If you haven’t checked your guest linens since last holiday season, don’t wait until the day before your guests arrive to pull them out. Give yourself time to properly wash, dry, and air your linens, checking them carefully for tears, stains, or worn spots.
It’s hard to be away from your own bed! That’s why I love making sure my guests have a super comfortable place to sleep. Fortunately, Tuesday Morning’s amazing prices on Peacock Alley linens make it easy to spoil visiting family and friends.
Friends: Go get these sheets. NOW. I’ve written before about my love affair with Peacock Alley linens, and I think I’m even more obsessed than ever after getting my hands on these heathered flannel sheets.
Look at how gorgeous they are, right out of the package!
They are the softest sheets I’ve ever felt. When I saw them at Tuesday Morning for just $30 (for a queen-size set), I literally let out a little squeal right there in the store! I snatched them up in a heartbeat.
But I have a confession to make: these lovely sheets are not for guests this time! My husband and I are going to be hitting the road with our new travel trailer for Christmas this year, and these sheets are the PERFECT cozy touch for our RV bed.
Don’t they look so inviting? And I am still bragging to everyone I know about getting these sheets for $30.
Now’s a good time to invest in some new, warm throw blankets for your living areas and bedrooms as well. Simply swapping out the “broken in” blankets for new ones makes a big difference in the overall look of your living space.
Tuesday Morning comes to the rescue again with an impressive selection of soft, warm blankets for any décor at prices you won’t mind paying. I’m not a fan of the velour-style blankets, but I just love the sophisticated woven throws from—you guessed it—Peacock Alley. I picked a neutral one for my bed, but Tuesday Morning also has a selection of heathered plaid blankets to choose from.
Tip #3: Inventory Your Dinnerware
One year, I decided at the last minute to make some kind of mushroom soup—from scratch—for Thanksgiving. I had a house full of guests and a big pot of soup on the stove when I realized that I did NOT have enough bowls for everyone! What a nightmare! In the middle of cooking and entertaining, I had to leave everything and everyone and run out to the nearest big box store to buy whatever soup bowls I could, and of course that meant they didn’t match my beautiful china.
Since then, I’ve made sure to decide which china or dinnerware I’ll be using at the same time that I plan my menu. That way, I can crosscheck my dinnerware against the number of guests and kinds of dishes I’ll be serving.
Building up a few complete sets of different types of place settings doesn’t have to be a daunting task. For instance, I picked up this cute set of silverware at Tuesday Morning for just about $20. Instead of mixing it in with my everyday silverware, I’ll keep it aside to use with a particular set of dishes that I have. For just $20, I don’t mind doing that!
Tip #4: (Re)Stock the Kitchen
Just like I suggest checking your dinnerware as you plan your menu, it’s a good idea to check your cookware at the same time.
I recently brought out my big skillet to make breakfast for my family, just like I do every day, and suddenly noticed that my skillet was scratched and stained. It’s not something that I’d want guests to see as I made their food! It was clearly time to update my cookware.
I picked up these skillets from Tuesday Morning for a steal. I love that they have an eco-friendly nonstick coating.
Unlike my place settings, my cookware doesn’t have to match, so I can pick up a couple of skillets this month and some new pots or bakeware next month. By the time the holidays are here, I’ll have a complete set of new cookware, without having to spend a lot of money all at once.
I also picked up a fantastic set of Cuisinart knives and some flexible cutting mats. Both the knife set and cutting mats are color-coded so I can easily remember which knife and mat to use when I’m cutting meats, fish, or veggies. How handy is that?
Whether you’re a regular baker or only bake when the holidays roll around, Tuesday Morning has plenty of supplies to make your baking a breeze. From KitchenAid mixers to Cake Boss products, everything you need is there!
Tip #5: Spruce Up Your Seasonal Décor
One of the best parts of holiday decorating is bringing out the sentimental decorations you use year after year—the special ornaments, figurines, and other pieces that are family heirlooms or have a particular significance to you. (For me, it’s my ceramic Dept 56 Snow Village pieces.)
But it’s good to spruce up your tried-and-true staples with fresh new pieces every year to keep your décor from getting stale. You don’t have to spend a lot all at once—by just picking up a little something this month and a little something next month, you’ll be all set in time for the holidays.
I love the chalkboard trend and Tuesday Morning has a great selection of pillows, plaques, and ornaments in this popular style.
My everyday decorating style is not very formal or fussy, but the holidays are a great excuse to add a little sparkle! I found this sequined pillow at Tuesday Morning and had to have it.
I love the glamour it adds to my flannel Peacock Alley sheets!
Seasonal mugs and trays make ordinary coffee or hot tea feel all the more festive! I found these mugs and a gorgeous tray for my husband and I to use on our Christmas RV vacation.
We won’t be able to decorate the RV that much, so I felt it was important to add little Christmas-y touches where I could. The tray is both beautiful and practical—I love it when form and function come together so perfectly!
So there you have it: my best tips for getting a head start on holiday planning. Don’t be the “procrastinator” me! With just a little bit of preparation, you can restock your household basics and add some new elements as well without having to spend a ton of cash at once right before the holidays. I already feel so much more prepared!
This month’s featured products: SpotBot carpet cleaner, $79.99 (compare at $149.99); Peacock Alley heathered flannel sheets, Queen, $29.99 (compare at $130.00); Peacock Alley throw blankets, $29.99-$49.99 (compare at $150.00); International Home “Carlisle” 20-pc silverware set, $19.99 (compare at $40.00); Gibson nonstick ceramic frying pans, $9.99-$14.99 (compare at $19.99-$34.99); Emeril 4-pc cutting mat set, $7.99 (compare at $19.99); Cuisinart 12-pc ceramic coated knife set, $22.99 (compare at $65.00); Jingle pillow, $14.99 (compare at $49.99); La Biche Collection “Deer” mugs, creamer, and square bowl, $2.99-$3.99 (compare at $6.00-$8.00); Michel Design Works “Joyous” wooden tray, $24.99 (compare at $50.00).
For more holiday home inspiration, check out our Warm Home pinboard!
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