Getting the house ready for the holidays can be a lot of work, and doing it with kids in tow can sometimes make it even more complicated. I know that most tasks I try to accomplish with a toddler usually end up taking 3x as long. So, I like to get creative with ways to get my daughter involved that makes her feel included and useful (and keep me from pulling my hair out during holiday season prep!).
One way I try to make holiday prep more manageable is by breaking it down into small tasks, tackling projects room by room over several days leading up to when guests arrive or a party is scheduled. I usually start with the rooms that are less high traffic, like the guest bedrooms, and work my way towards the center of the house (saving the kitchen for last!). My daughter knows our guest bedroom is typically reserved for her favorite people in the world: grandparents and aunts and uncles! So, getting her help here is actually a really sweet way to get her excited for visiting family. Making the beds is 100% easier without a toddler, so I’ll give her small tasks like asking her to make a special picture to leave on the nightstand or placing some essentials on the dresser like a box of Scotties Tissues and some fresh flowers.
Getting the more common spaces ready takes some elbow grease, vacuuming and tidying and dusting. I have a big set of bottle brush trees I’ve collected over the past couple of years, so I’ll give those to Jane to “decorate” the room with while I do the cleaning. I think after seeing me and my constant styling for blog photos, she takes this task seriously! I can also have her set out Scotties Tissues in the living room and bathrooms too – I love the stylish (yet functional!) designs of the boxes that work seamlessly with our holiday decor. And it’s so necessary to keep them around during the winter months! This particular collection has 8 exclusive designs by Genevieve Gorder (love her!) and the patterns are so perfect for the cozy and festive winter months -- I love the natural birch and neutral knit patterns the best.
My last spaces to tackle are always a deep clean of the bathrooms (my husband is a saint and usually does this for me!) and the kitchen (which I keep messy until the very last second as I’m usually still cooking and prepping snacks). I think one of the best things you can do to get kids involved is get them in the kitchen – it certainly doesn’t help with cleaning up messes, but it’s so much fun. And the smell of some fresh treats in the oven will distract your guests from any remnant flour on the countertops, I promise!
By the day of the party or as guests are set to arrive, all you’ll have left to do is a quick run-through of the house to freshen things up, and you’re ready to go!
Kate is a lifestyle blogger based in Greater Boston, MA, chronicling her adventures in entertaining, home cooking, DIY projects and life as a new mom.