Getting Your Home Ready for the Holidays
The holidays are a fun time, but they can also be a little stressful. There is always so much shopping, cleaning and cooking to do in preparation for the big day. While the holidays require extra planning and preparation on everyone’s part, they often require a little more planning and preparation from those living in and possibly hosting holiday gatherings in a manufactured home. While some manufactured homes are indistinguishable from traditional houses and contain plenty of space for additional houseguests, many are on the smaller side. This makes hosting holiday festivities a little trickier, but still absolutely possible if people plan ahead and take these steps to make the most of their tight space.
1. Put up Decorations
Nothing says “happy holidays” like festive holiday decorations. Christmas trees, menorahs, stockings and wreaths all clearly proclaim that the holidays have arrived. The key to a well-decorated house during the holidays is putting out just the right amount of decorations. A room with too many decorations will look small and cramped and may even frazzle people’s senses from without them consciously realizing it. On the other hand, a room without enough decorations will fail to get those gathered in it into a festive and joyful holiday spirit. Decorations do not have to all match, but they should have some sense of cohesion for a pulled together look. Simple red bows and green wreaths match anything and can be used all throughout the home for a festive look.
2. Deep Clean Your Entire Home
People living in smaller homes or manufactured houses do not have the luxury of cleaning just one area of their homes to corral all of their party guests into. One bedroom might be used to store guests’ winter coats and scarves, another room may be used to entertain small children, while yet another room may be used for nursing mothers to feed their babies in peace and quiet. It is best to clean all rooms of the house thoroughly so party guests will have the room they need to comfortably spread out.
In addition to cleaning, a massive decluttering can really help open up a space. Old boxes of clothes, toys that are no longer used and stacks of random papers take up valuable space holiday guests need to feel comfortable. Not only are holiday parties an excellent motivation to finally deal with old items that have been lying around, but the holidays are also a great time to donate items to places like Goodwill and the Salvation Army where people will be searching for inexpensive gifts for their own holiday festivities. Donating your unwanted items can improve both your holidays and someone else’s as well.
4. Plan Food in Advance
No holiday gathering is complete without great food, but smaller kitchens and a lack of an oversized dining room table can make food preparation and meals a little trickier. Combat this obstacle by planning and preparing food in advance. Most raw fruits and vegetables can be washed, chopped and mixed a couple days before the event. Most deserts and breads can be baked the day before as well. Make sure only those foods that need to be prepared at the last minute are completed the day of the event. All other foods should be prepared in advance.
If a small space (or a lack of time or cooking skills) makes preparing a large family meal sound unappealing, there is nothing wrong with buying or ordering food instead. Do make sure that you buy or order food well in advance, however. Restaurants will need notice to prepare large orders and grocery stores may sell out of key meal ingredients, leaving you scrambling to come up with a back-up plan at the last minute. Easy finger foods are always a good bet for their ease and portability when formal sit down meals are not practical.
5. Prepare for Stains and Messes
It is difficult to relax and enjoy a party when you are worried about stains and messes ruining the carpets and furniture. Prepare your home in advance by keeping cleaning supplies on hand. Hydrogen peroxide or dish soap can help get out red wine stains. Detergent sticks can be used to treat messes on clothes before they set. Dish cloths or paper towels should be kept handy to clean up large spills.
6. Be Creative with Seating
The lack of a large formal dining table means manufactured home owners may have to get creative with seating arrangements. Borrowing or renting folding tables and chairs is probably the best option, so everyone will have a place to sit at a table. Couches with TV trays is an option as well, though some many people will be fine with holding their plates in their laps as long as they have a flat, stable surface to put their drinks on. If space is really tight, younger adults and children may even volunteer to relax on the floor if they can find a spot out of the way.
7. Arrange for Parking
Large gatherings not only require Tetris-style maneuvering on the inside, they can require special parking arrangements as well. If there will be more cars than driveway space, people may park along the street or in a nearby parking lot if one is available. Let your guests know well in advance if they should carpool so they will have time to make the proper arrangements. Parking your own car elsewhere will free up additional space for guests.
8. Find Present Hiding Spots
Keeping presents away from children’s prying eyes is difficult no matter where you live, but it is especially difficult in manufactured homes that lack basements and attics. Keep presents away from curious little eyes by using layaway to store your gifts until the last minute. Other options include storing gifts at a friend or relative’s house or leaving them at work until they are ready to go under the tree.
9. Improvise a Chimney
All little children know that Santa is supposed to come down the chimney. Since manufactured homes do not have fireplaces and chimneys, you may need to improvise to keep little ones satisfied. You could buy a fake fireplace, which would satisfy very small children as well as provide warmth and a cozy ambiance. Older children will inevitably notice that fake fireplaces do not have chimneys, however, so you may have to come up with a more convincing solution such as leaving the gifts out on the front step on Christmas morning or having “Santa” show up to personally hand deliver the children’s gifts.
Getting ready for the holidays can be a tricky and time-consuming endeavor no matter where you live. Make the holidays as memorable and as stress-free as possible by preparing in advance. Using the above tips will help you make sure you perfect every small detail for a truly unforgettable holiday season.