Three years ago, when my boyfriend Josh and I moved into our home in downtown Toronto, we decided to start a new tradition that involved us hosting Christmas Eve for our combined families in our little house. In those few years, little kids have turned into giant teenagers, more partners and friends have become part of our family, and the group just seems to get bigger and bigger while our house feels smaller and smaller. To be honest, figuring out how everyone is going to fit is the least of my worries when trying to prep my home for twenty guests on Christmas Eve (not to mention all of our other holiday hosting engagements with other friends) in between running my business and juggling a jam-packed schedule.
Just like with everything else I have to keep up with in my life, I always try to find tips, tricks, hacks and services to help make keeping up with it all a heck of a lot easier. If you’re hosting this holiday season, I hope my favourite hacks to make holiday hosting easier will help you too!
Get On-Demand Home Services
- Do the holiday lights need to go up outside your home? Have something that still needs to be fixed or installed that you’ve been meaning to get to for months? Does snow need to be removed from your sidewalk or driveway? These are all home tasks that, if you’re like me (and Josh), often get neglected until the very last minute. I love companies such as Jiffy in Toronto that provide on-demand home services to help you out, quickly.
Quickly Freshen Up with Febreze
- Lighting a candle and giving my house a spritz with Febreze is one of my go-to ways to quickly freshen up my home before guests arrive. As you’ll see in the hilarious #12Stinks of Christmas music video featuring Doug E. Fresh and Doug The Pug (watch it below!), there are a lot of things in the home that can compromise keeping it fresh for your guests. I love that the Febreze Holiday Collection not only allows you to keep your home smelling fresh quickly and easily, but you can also select from holiday scents such as Pumpkin, Cranberry and Pine to keep up that festive feel.
Book A Cleaner (Before & After)
- If your home is in need of more than just help from Febreze to get fabric odours out, book a professional cleaner to help you get through a deep clean from top to bottom in your home – especially if you’re too busy to do it yourself. When possible, I like to book a cleaner for before and after a big party to help get my place back into shape as fast as possible.
Have Everything (Ever) Delivered
- Online shopping is one of my favourite things in life, and I’m always especially grateful for it during the holiday season. Many of us use it to help with gift shopping, but why stop there? I like to order fun decorations and ornaments from places like Etsy and Drake General Store, and even have groceries and booze delivered within a couple of hours by services like Urbery in Toronto.
‘Cook’ with Pre-Prepped Food
- Cooking a delicious homemade meal from scratch for my giant family is something that brings me a lot of joy, but I’ve also realised that it’s always ends up keeping me in the kitchen, rather than spending time with my guests. One of my new favourite hacks is to buy fresh, home cooked food from places like the “From Our Chefs” section at some Loblaws locations, and then spruce them up with a few fresh ingredients to add my own twist – a trick I learned from the Executive Chef, Mark Russell. You can also go one step further by having the whole thing catered and pretend you made it yourself.
Hire A Helper For The Big Night
- Circling back to the point I made above, there’s nothing worse than getting stuck in the kitchen and not being able to spend quality time with you friends and family when they’ve come over. Hiring a helper or two for the night can make a huge difference when it comes to getting dinner ready, serving drinks, and tidying up. Trust me, when I was a student I loved making some extra cash by helping out at a party!
Use Recyclable Plates and Cups
- While using paper plates and cups isn’t my preference, there’s no denying how much easier it is to quickly put used plates, cups and cutlery into the recycling after a party, rather than being stuck with days and days of dishes to deal with. Plus, there are so many fun colours and patterns available these days that your recyclable place settings can even become part of your decor theme!
Whatever happens this holiday season, always remember to have fun and that you can order PIZZA if all goes wrong!
*Please note that this post has been brought to you in partnership with Febreze*