Preparing Your Home for the Holiday Season

Now more than ever, people are hosting holiday parties at home. This checklist will help you welcome the trend and get through those winter blues by spicing up your home and your Holiday festivities.

1. Update your favorite space. Maximize your investment by renovating your kitchen or bath. Refinish or replace dated cabinets and hardware. Add your style with new faucets and light fixtures. Even smaller changes can have a large impact!

2. Tidy up the kitchen by cleaning out the microwave, the range top, dishwasher and refrigerator. *By simply microwaving a glass of water for one minute, stuck-on food will be easy to wipe away. *Save the self-cleaning option on your oven for another time. This cycle can be taxing on the oven and cause it to fail, at such a critical time. *Visually inspect the dishwasher for debris in the bottom of the washtub. Remove bits of food, plastic or glass. Wipe down the door gaskets, removing excess detergent and any grimy build-up . *Your refrigerator will take center stage, being opened and closed more frequently than during times of normal use. Check the door gaskets, clear blocked vents, replace burned out light bulbs and assure the door handles are secure. You may consider having your refrigerator serviced prior to your event.

3. Make sure all systems are a go! Check the temperature of your oven with an inexpensive oven thermometer. Run a diluted mix of water and white vinegar through your coffee maker and have your vacuum handy, in case it’s needed in a hurry.

4. Get Comfy and Cozy. If your furnace is more than 10 years old, chances are it’s not all running efficiently. Affordable, energy efficient systems are a smart investment that will pay off for years to come.

5. Boost the value of your home and accommodate your guests by adding that second bathroom. Even a half bath makes all the difference during large get-togethers.

6. Add ambiance and lower your utility bills by adding a fireplace. Many models are available to choose from and finishes can be customized to match your existing wood. Ventless fireplaces are a popular option, when placing the unit near an interior wall.

7. Are your windows and doors drafty? You may be eligible for an energy tax credit by replacing them. Check it out!

8. Jazz it up! Whether the common areas in your home need a fresh coat of paint or you want to add a new warm color, this is a relatively inexpensive fix and will be sure to be noticed.

9. Pay attention to your bathroom, your guests will. Rather than worry about that running toilet, replace it. Several energy-conserving models are available for around $200.00. Refresh or replace your dated shower and tub. This can even be an energy conserving change, by adding a low-flow showerhead and faucet. So, out with the old and in with the new! *Polish it off by adding your favorite Holiday-themed shower curtain and coordinating towels.

10. Accessorize! Dress up your windows by hanging rich color draperies and tie them back with silver and gold ribbons. Switch out your couch pillows and wall hangings with something fun and festive.

11. Emphasize everyone’s safety. Conduct a walk-through safety check of your home. *Replace burned out light bulbs. *Clear walkways of snow and ice. Apply de-icer, if necessary. *Fasten down loose handrails and secure slippery rugs with double sided tape. *Have your furnace and hot water heater checked to assure they are properly vented and eliminate carbon monoxide from leaking into your home. * Be sure to have a first aid kit on hand, including bandages and ice packs. *Change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. *Keep a fire extinguisher on hand, in the kitchen and the garage. *Have the chimney cleaned and cleared of any flammable and hazardous materials. Give your fireplace a test-run before the big event. *Keep a set of jumper cables handy, in the event one of your guests in unable to start their car. *Childproof your space. Cover outlets, move candles out of a child’s reach and avoid hazardous falls by blocking stairways.

12. Make your guests feel extra special by preparing their favorite tasty treats and setting their place at the table adorned with a personalized name card.

13. Start a new tradition. Perhaps you would like to exchange family heirloom recipes or make a donation to an agreed upon charity, rather than purchase gifts for one-another.

14. Go green! Set out recycling containers, labeled for plastics, aluminum cans, wrapping paper, paper plates and glass bottles.

15. Enjoy it! You’ve worked hard to make the big day a success! Show your guests the changes you have made to your home. Share your spice-it-up Holiday secrets with them and maybe they’ll take on the task of hosting the event next year.

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