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THE VIEW 42 how to host a holiday party T he holiday season is about more than just rushing to stores to stock up on pres- ents. Socializing and hosting friends and family members to catch up on a year’s worth of news also makes this time of year so special. Before friends and family arrive, holiday hosts must take steps to pre- pare their homes for their guests. The following home prep plan can make relatively easy work of tidying up the house and ensuring it is invit- ing to guests. start with the entrance Hosting can motivate renters to fi n- ish certain home decor improvement projects that enhance the appearance of their homes. Tidy up your home’s entryway to make it more welcom- ing. Be sure the front door and walk- ways are well lit. Remove obstruc- tions and put away any items in the way. Festive decorations can brighten up the space. Don’t forget a welcome mat to reinforce to guests that they truly are welcome at your home. quick cleaning Sometimes the joy of hosting can be overshadowed by the task of pre- paring for your guests. Although a thorough cleaning of the home is great if you have the time, it may not be necessary. Go from room to room identifying spaces that are in need of a thorough cleaning. Spend time in the kitchen clearing clutter from the counters and make sure the dining space is clean and the table is presentable. A table runner and a centerpiece of festive fl owers can brighten up the space instantly. Fluff cushions on sofas and give fl oors or carpets a quick vacuuming. Always be sure the bathrooms are clean and fresh, with laundered hand towels at the ready. Children’s bedrooms and other areas of the home may not re- quire such a critical eye. Simply keep doors closed in off-limits rooms. stock up on supplies Purchase extra travel-sized toilet- ries at the drug store so your guests’ needs are covered in case they forget something. Store them in a zip-top bag and let guests know where these items are kept. Purchase a guest set of towels, sheets and pillowcases. Keep these in an air-tight storage bag or bin, so when guests arrive, they will have their own set of linens. Launder these linens after use. Ask guests which foods and bev- erages they prefer and try to have some on hand. Use your spare time to prepare some meals and freeze them. This way if someone drops by unexpectedly, you can simply de- frost a meal and have it ready in no time. Keep a tin of cookies and tea bags ready for those who pop in for a snack and conversation. create a sanctuary Overnight guests should have a designated space they can use as a re- treat. If you do not have a guest room, consider having children bunk with one another and designating one of the kids’ rooms for your guests. Fresh linens, an alarm clock, a television, and Internet access are nice touches. A guest room also can be set up in a den or offi ce with a pull-out sofa bed. Provide access to a nearby bathroom so guests can enjoy some privacy. Hosting children is easier than hosting adults because they won’t require the same level of privacy and space. An extra mattress tucked under the bed in your child’s room can be an impromptu place for kids to retire. With the holiday season in full swing, holiday hosts must ready their homes for overnight guests. ■ — Metro Creative November 29–December 13, 2014