(BPT) - Some might call the fall and winter months the holiday season, but it could just as easily be known as the hosting season. It's the time of year when cooking for crowds and welcoming friends and family for celebrations is the name of the game. For those opening their homes to guests, it can be hectic, but there are plenty of ways to make the season as full of cheer as it should be.
Decorating your home for the holidays goes hand-in-hand with getting ready for guests - whether those visitors are planned or impromptu. So, as you start to consider your decor themes, think about updates that can be made around the house to make your guests feel even more at home.
Keep this checklist in mind as you get started:
* Give your decorations a checkup. By pulling out your holiday decorations well ahead of time, you can save yourself the stress of last-minute surprises like broken platters or light strings with half the bulbs burnt out. If you find items that are broken or in disrepair, don't throw them out - make a few quick fixes instead. Repair broken items with reliably tough adhesives like Gorilla, which come in a variety of formulas, from clear-drying epoxy to wood glue and more. Replace burnt out bulbs individually, rather than buying entire new strands.
* Stock your pantry. During every holiday this season, food will be a major focus. Be prepared for the biggest days by having all the ingredients you need in your pantry, freezer and - closer to the actual events - your refrigerator. From spices to stock to sweet treats, it's better to have everything on hand rather than risking the chance of the grocery store being closed or dealing with the long, hectic holiday lines. It's also a great opportunity to make sure that you have enough supplies on hand to feed guests who stay for a few days at a time, from breakfast to dinner and dessert.
* Freshen your linens. Guest rooms often go dormant during the quieter seasons of the year, and need a bit of airing out before the hosting season. Keep a few sets of linens freshly laundered - one on each bed and a couple in the closet - to avoid stale smells. Make sure you also have a few extra blankets clean and ready to use as throws, and don't forget to vacuum or clean window treatments, where dust easily collects.
* Get in the spirit. Add to your home's seasonal spirit by making a few crafts or gifts to decorate the main rooms, as well as guest rooms. Get creative with craft store items, or try 'upcycling' thrift store or yard sale finds into holiday decor that's uniquely yours. Visit www.pinterest.com/gorillaglue for project ideas and www.gorillatough.com for a guide to which glues work best on a variety of materials, from ceramics to plastic to paper.
* Be ready to entertain. Being a good host means being prepared for last-minute fun. After the big meal is finished and everything is cleaned up, you and your guests will have time for some extra fun. Set out DVDs, board games and books that will keep guests of all ages entertained.
One of the best parts of celebrating the season is the opportunity to spend time with loved ones. Getting your home ready for guests will make them feel more comfortable when they arrive and give you a new sense of holiday cheer.