Monday, December 30, 2013

Quick Fixes To Keep Your Post Holiday Home Guest-Ready

The beautiful holidays, one of my favorite times of the year because of the bows and twinkling lights and how pretty everything looks. We spend the weeks leading up to December dusting, wiping, cleaning, and decorating for the season. It feels so much like preparing for a wedding. Then when the big day comes, we take a deep breath, and jump in. We've run out of time -- no matter what Amazon tells us -- and there's nothing we can do about it except relax and revel in the noise, the people, family, the food, the places, the gifts, the sweet exchange of time spent with those that we live our lives with.

We pulled it off again, and it feels good to sit down for a well earned rest. Laughing and sharing stories and gifts, we let the season surround us. We may even wake up to all of it surrounding us. And even wake up the second day after, and it all still surrounds us. Moving from living room to bathroom has now become a deft dance of foot forward, push debris aside, next foot forward, push other debris aside. We eventually reach our destination, but it'll go much faster and with less pain if we have slippers on.

In the midst of all the gaiety, company may stop by. The visits we expect are only mildly sweat inducing, depending on who they're from. But what happens when it's three days post-holiday and you're still ankle deep in wrapping paper and torn open Lego boxes? Well, that's when you can count on the quick fixes listed here that make your home one that's ready to weather the surprise! visits between December 24th and January 1.

Start with Quick Fix Number One: Just accept the state of your home. Your family is in the thick of Holiday week and your attitude can be contagious. Let people into your house as if what they see before them is the most normal thing in the world, boxes of underwear and pajamas and athletic socks abound.

Go to Quick Fix Number Two: When the doorbell rings, instruct everybody in your house to hit the sofa and chairs. Have blankets at the ready and throw them over yourselves. The one drawing the short stick has to answer the door just a wee crack, hoarsely whispering that you're all sicker than you've ever been and the Dr.'s at the ER were very interested in your cases. No worries, your company will be on their way just like that.

Believe in magic. Believe that whoever is at the door just really came to see you. They came over only to see you, nothing else, and that your company will somehow not see the madness that surrounds you. It's why this season is full of wooden placards covered in glitter that you can buy at every craft fair at every church, that read BELIEVE.

Open the door and say, "Pardon the mess but we have had to turn this house upside down looking for the diamond pendant my husband gave me for Christmas. It was his grandmother's and I don't know where it is and it's been lost for two days now and we are looking under every nook and cranny... but we won't give up!"

Have a look of relief on your face when you open the door and see it's them. No matter who it is, just say "Oh thank God it's you because you, you over anybody else in the world understands and would never mind a mess. It's why I love you..."

Take them aside after you let them in and side whisper about the bout of mental exhaustion you're recovering from after the holidays spent with your relatives and how you did have an appointment for this morning, an emergency one at that, with your therapist, but she cancelled and it's all you can do today to just get out of bed. This works best if you laugh and cry at the same time.

Hand them glasses of wine as soon as they walk in the door (or beer if you're in Wisconsin). One for each hand and don't even wait for their gloves and coat to come off. Start with a glass before they can say their first Merry and keep up with the glasses until they leave. Tell them you don't like to drink alone and pour them another. When they get up to go and trip on the box of your winter boot socks and they say it must be all the wine they had, don't disagree.

When all else fails, resign yourself to live through it. Christmas is wonderful, it charges in and leaves your house looking like a hurricane. There's nothing shameful about that. Let the visitors come, let them say what they must, if some are so inclined. You just go about your way, enjoying the special magic of these moments and the evidence around you, boxes and paper and toys with fifty parts each, of a season well spent.

* * *
Happy Holidays and wishing you all peace in 2014. Thanks for reading this year.


  1. The wine is absolutely genius.
    Happy New Year, my friend. xo

  2. hey i believe in magic...
    and i may or may not have had everyone hide before
    to avoid a visit...hahaha....
    have a very happy new year!

  3. Wine and magic: it's what makes Christmas, Christmas. Happy new year, to you Brian, and Alison. Thank you for your friendship.

  4. I don't think the kind of people that would come to my house would care very much. Except, perhaps my English students and their parents, but hey! It's Christmas break!

    My fave is the diamond pendant one.



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