- Be sure to check your main appliances, fixtures and plumbing if you plan to entertain for the first time this year
- Work in advance to secure enough seating for everyone who will attend your holiday gathering. Borrowing or buying an inexpensive fold-up table is just fine for first-timers
- Traveling this year? Be sure to lock down your house and alert a neighbor or friend to watch it on your behalf
Whether you're hosting a full house of relatives or leaving for an extended period of time, follow these tips to help you navigate the first holiday season as a homeowner.
For those entertaining
Repair and maintain
First, check appliances and fixtures to make sure nothing is leaking or on the verge of breaking. The last thing you want on your hands is a plumbing disaster as your guests arrive.
Three weeks before your celebration, start deep-cleaning room by room. Start with the rooms that have the least traffic, and save high-traffic areas (like the kitchen and main bathroom) for the days leading up to the big day. If you're leaving for the holidays, do this anyway. There's nothing better than coming home to a clean and welcoming home – especially when you have bags of gifts and new belongings in tow.
Consider guest accommodations
Dust off the guest bedroom or rearrange the office to allow for a comfortable home away from home for family and friends. While couches were fine in college, luxe air mattresses are now affordable and expected. For additional insights on creating a nice guest area, regardless of your space, check out these tips.
Check the kitchen
Do you have enough pots, pans, dishware and table space to host your holiday meal? If not, don't panic – borrow the kitchen items or invest in an inexpensive set that you can take out once a year. As for tables and chairs, it's perfectly acceptable to buy a fold-out table and cover it with a chic tablecloth. Just make sure to buy in advance – you're not the only one lacking table space this time of year!
Last, check your oven and garbage disposal to make sure they're in peak condition; they'll be getting more use than usual over the next few weeks.
For those traveling
For food, that is. Make sure to eat your perishable items in the week leading up to your departure. Clear out your cupboards and fridge the night before your trash collector comes so you don't come home to a stinky situation.
Secure your stuff
Burglaries are more common this time of year, especially in homes where the owners are away. Be sure to alert a trusted neighbor or friend that you will be out of town, and ask them to pick up your mail and even turn on lights at night if they are able.