Preparing for the holidays

Monday, November 25, 2013

With Thanksgiving this week and the Christmas and New Year's holidays right around the corner, we offer "work ahead" suggestions on getting yourself and your home better prepared for holiday diners and guests.

1. Clean the refrigerator: Take advantage and clean the icebox before it is loaded with turkey, mashed potatoes, and all those holiday treats. Start by removing the shelving and drawers, spray down the interior with a solution of 1-cup water and 1-teaspoon dishwashing liquid, and clean condiment tops. Also, do not forget to clean the outside.

2. Polish the silver: After spending a year in storage, silver serving pieces and candlesticks may become dusty or tarnished. Use a silver polish safe to use on silver pieces that come in contact with food.

3. Clean the fireplace and stock up on wood/propane: Place newspaper around the fireplace to protect the floor and shovel ashes into a bag. Use a vacuum to pick up the remaining lightweight ashes. For glass doors, scrape off any baked-on soot with a razor and use a vinegar-water solution (1/2-cup vinegar to 1-gallon water) to clean the glass. Stock up on wood and fire starters or check the propane tank to ensure the fire will burn brightly throughout the holiday season.

4. Prepare the guestroom: Wash the bedding, clear any clutter, clean up pet hair to avoid allergic reactions, and dust drawers and closets in the guestroom. For wood surfaces such as dressers and nightstands, use a cleaner to remove any dust, dirt and grime that accumulated and give furniture a brilliant shine.

5. Make room for guest coats and shoes: Place extra hangers in the hall closet and make room if necessary to accommodate guests' bulky jackets. Also, add a welcome mat to help stop dirt and water from entering the home.

Remember, the better prepared you are, the more you'll be able to relax and enjoy your guests, family, and the holidays!