entertaining :: getting your home holiday ready

‘Tis the season for a bustling home and calendar – all filled with friends and family and all of the trimmings for a warm holiday. Starting when Nick and I were in college together, we have made traditions of getting our Christmas trees right after Thanksgiving – we would celebrate Thanksgiving with our families and then drive back across the state to our university after break ended. Getting our tree and trimming it would help to keep us feeling festive while being in the home stretch of finals during December, and it’s a tradition we so look forward to with our kiddos.

Tradition is big in our house and with our family, and we try to host as many festive holiday “things” as we can, without going overboard! Prepping for our holiday home (this week) means to create experiences for our guests in each room – either simply or elaborately – all with some key touches and essentials. Adding to the essential registry pieces you have in your home now, just by changing up sheets, creating a warm welcome for out of town guests, or popping up a bubbly bar or cookie platter for the neighbors speaks volumes of care to holiday guests.

Here are some of our favorite must-have holiday essentials and tips to ensure your holiday home feels festive and effortless for your guests:

Make yourselves the go-to house – you know, the one that relatives would prefer to camp out at all season long!

1. Turn that spare guest room into a cozy oasis both adults and kiddos will delight in by dressing the bed with festive flannel Snowman Sheets, putting out a classic holiday book, and welcoming guests who have been traveling with hot cocoa in nostalgic Mrs. Claus mugs (topped with marshmallows, of course!).

2. Light up the room with the sweetest Lit Faux Pine Trees in baskets – such an instant way to add that pop of holiday to a room. Bonus points: dressing the tree(s) with an ornament guests can take back home with them to remember their stay.

4. Create an inviting night stand in 15 minutes – whenever we’ve stayed at relatives’ homes for the holidays, the stand-out experiences are all about the tiny touches. Bring in beautiful Crosby nightstands and stage a few essentials: water carafes, Nostalgic Christmas appetizer plates with cookies, a little journal and pen, and a Lit Faux Blue Spruce Tree dressed in lights and ornaments. This little vignette took less than 15 minutes to set up, but it looks so special and inviting, doesn’t it?

5. Give them amenities – fresh Heathered Hydrocotton bath towels rolled up as you would find them in a spa, a sweet US Apothecary milk and oatmeal bath set, and a loofa and brush placed atop a silver tray look quite deluxe, don’t they? It’s all in the presentation – a 5 minute tray like this will surely make your guests feel like you went the extra mile to make them feel at home away from home.

6. Freshen up the bedding – favorite essentials like our Pearl Organic Sheet Set (with navy beading) are a standard year-round, but take on a wintry feeling when paired with Nostalgic Santa Pillows, a plaid throw, and extra fluffy pillows with midnight pillow cases instantly take a room from fall to winter and the holidays. 

Just adding the pillows and throw to our all-white bedding made the room feel like the holidays were here!

The same goes for our Pottery Barn York sofa – adding festive pillows and a cozy throw takes a minute and brings that sense of nostalgia.

7. Don’t forget about the powder room! For those drop-by guests or holiday parties, dress your powder room with the faux trees all aglow and put the best welcoming foot forward with new soft towels. 

8. Create a welcoming entrance – the porch is the first place your guests will see, so dressing it up with a bundle of kindling from the hardware store, those adorable faux trees, and the must-have Woody holiday light-up mat will call out your home as instantly warm and inviting! We can’t tell you how many neighbors and walkers come by our home and compliment us on our holiday entry – all by a few effortless, yet thoughtful touches.

Styling by Valley & Company Events, Photos by Katie Parra Photography

Whether you’re expecting a few close friends, your parents or a sibling, or a full house, you can instantly transform rooms to feel extra special and welcoming for the holiday season! How will you plan to holiday up your space?


This is a post in partnership with Pottery Barn, but all opinions are our own.

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