Dealing with the Aftermath
So, you've eaten a fabulous meal, shared stories, played a few rounds of charades, and laughed until tears ran down your face. When it's time for everyone to depart, you bid them farewell and turn to find what appears to be the remnants of a level-five tornado in your kitchen. Suddenly, joy turns back to anxiety. There are ways to avoid this.
Clean as You Go: You can avoid feeling shell-shocked by party clean up with a little preventive planning. Consider hiring your favorite babysitter, enlisting one of your family's older children, or asking a friendly neighbor to clean and tidy up as your party progresses. He or she can pick up used cups and plates, load and unload the dishwasher, and take out trash bags and recyclables while you enjoy the company of your guests. This way when it comes time to finally say goodbye to that last guest, you can enjoy walking through a clean home on your way to bed!
Post-Party Cleaning Services: Whether or not you hired a cleaning service on the front end, do consider hiring one on the back end. You may not be terribly concerned at this point about having the house vacuumed and dusted, but the mountain of dishes may be more than you bargained for. Find a service that will clean only your kitchen. These days, many cleaning services contract for a specific block of time and will do whatever you need done during that time. Have the house cleaners do whatever is necessary to take this part of your home back to the state it was in just before the first guest rang the doorbell.
Reward the Host and Hostess: Don't neglect to treat yourself for all of your hard work. Make an appointment at a local spa or salon for a manicure, pedicure, or the works. Knowing you have an hour or a day of pampering on the schedule will give you something to look forward to as you're chopping ten pounds of onions by hand.
The holidays are a lot of work, no doubt. But they also provide an opportunity to have a lot of fun and make many memories. With the right planning, you can ensure that these memories will inspire you to jump in and host again next year.