Here's a hosting hack from the brains behind A Beautiful Mess: After you clean the house for your holiday soirée, put a pot of water on the stove to heat, and add fresh fruits, herbs, seasonal spices or essential oils to fill the air with a delicious aroma.
Related: 8 All-Too-Common Christmas Gifts No One Actually Wants
Cocoa for Christmas
Turn a countertop or media console table into a hot cocoa bar by simply topping it with a carafe of cocoa (or a Keurig and hot chocolate pods, as pictured here), a DIY mug tree, and plenty of marshmallows. The irresistible display is guaranteed to draw anyone with a sweet tooth and a hankering for a warm little pick-me-up.
Related: 21 Coffee Bars to Put Pep in Your Home Design
Your holiday soiree could end up being a party of one if the invitations never reach your intended guests. Spread the word about your holiday bash with free (and almost-free) customizable card templates from services like Paperless Post or Canva. Send invitations by email with the click of a button, or have them printed and sent out.
Related: 20 Unique Ways to Display Holiday Cards
Come Bearing Gifts
You don't have to wait until Christmas morning to gift your friends and family with their favorite goodies. Take a cue from Rachel Awtrey and dole out wicker baskets or tins filled with snacks, bath essentials, and a handwritten welcome message.
Related: 42 Under $42 Holiday Gift Ideas for Homeowners
Create a Signature Drink
Serve a signature drink at your holiday party. Whether it's Grandma's classic fruit punch or a new and daring favorite, child-friendly or an adults-only treat, a special drink lets your guests know this is no ordinary affair.
Related: Must Be Nice: 10 Extravagant Services People Hire for the Holidays
Doorway to Comfort
If yours is a shoes-off household (and even if it's not!), give guests the option of covering up and warming up with a pair of slippers or fluffy socks kept in a basket near the front door. This humble offering makes for both cozier toes and cleaner floors.
Related: 30 Budget-Friendly Home Buys and DIYs for a Cozy Fall
Room for Pie
There's something about sending people home with a piece of leftover pie that signals that you care. Amp up the thoughtfulness factor when you print out these leftover pie boxes from Houseful of Handmade and fold them up to hold individual slices of delicious dessert.
Related: 35 DIY Advent Calendars to Help You Count Down to Christmas
Raise the Bar
While the kitchen may close when you go to bed, here's one that stays open as long as your guests are awake. Give your guests the freedom to munch whenever they want with this DIY mini bar made from a repurposed metal toolbox filled with cold drinks, snacks, and good reads.
Related: 12 Christmas Tree Decorating Fails
A Tree in Every Room
Got overnight guests coming to stay for Christmas? Give their room a special holiday twist by decorating with a personal-size tree. The holiday cheer will be infectious.
Related: Here’s How Designers Decorate for the Holidays
It may look impressive, but this DIY chill bucket by Brendid took about 5 minutes to make. Ice, greenery, and cranberries placed between two glass jars of different sizes makes the perfect place to cool a bottle of bubbly.
Related: The Weirdest Things Anyone Has Ever Used to Make an Awesome DIY Christmas Wreath
Fresh and Festive
Skip the store-bought air fresheners this holiday and deodorize your home with tea lights, bowls full of coffee beans, or other aromatics.
Related: 8 Ways to Make Your House Smell Like the Holidays
On the Case
Bring holiday cheer to your guest room by dressing plain-looking pillows in colorful green, red, or candy-cane-striped pillowcases. Drape shelves and windows with evergreen boughs to make the room look merry and bright.
Related: 8 Ways to Buy a Better Guest Room for Under $30
There's no reason for your guests to head to the drugstore to pick up any toiletries they forgot to pack. Stock the guest bathroom with a sleek metallic tray of mini toiletries so they'll have everything they need for a spa-like soak.
Related: The 12 Best Buys for Your Tiny Bathroom
Set a Place
A traditional holiday meal feels extra special with the addition of place card holders such as these. Made from wire by the bloggers at A Beautiful Mess, the card holders come together in a matter of minutes but leave guests with a lasting impression.
Dessert for Dinner
Place cards aren't the only way to score points with dinner guests. Drop a little take-home gift at everyone's place and you're sure to start the meal out with a smile. Here, the blogger at Poppytalk offers guests a small box of truffles and styles it with a Christmas-y twist.
Roll-Away Photo Booth
When friends and family gather for the holidays, it's only a matter of time before someone starts snapping the seasonal selfies. Why not give your guests a festive backdrop for their creativity by setting up a picture-perfect photo booth, as this blogger did? Suspend a roll of holiday-themed wrapping paper on a curtain rod held up by two Command hooks, then roll down the paper for a dazzling DIY photo spot.
Related: A Dozen Clever Hacks for Your Holiday Home
Wherever your guests gather—around the TV, at the kitchen island, or in the sunroom—give them something to hit the spot. A cup full of candy canes, when situated in a strategic position, satisfies a sweet tooth while complementing the holiday decor.
Related: Bob Vila's Guide to "$30 and Under" Stocking Stuffers
Home on Wheels
Spoil your visitors by furnishing the guest room with a rolling utility cart filled with all the essentials they need—from toiletries to the Wi-Fi password. When your guests leave, simply roll the mobile hospitality cart into the guest room closet until they swing by again.
Related: 10 Ways to Welcome a House Guest
Print Out the Fun
When the conversation dies at your holiday party, amuse your guests by whipping out a game of seasonal-inspired trivia that cost you nothing. Simply print out copies of a fun activity, like this one from Landeelu (or one from Lil' Luna), or get creative and write your own holiday-themed quiz.
Related: 8 New Things to Do with Old Board Games
Have a Plan
Don't stress. The holidays can cause even the coolest cucumber to lose their cool. But if you make a plan for how to show hospitality to your guests, maintain order, and bring your home back from chaos when the holidays are over, you can get through anything. Jeanette at Country Design Style recommends tossing or donating any decorations you don't plan to use next year, and cleaning and labeling everything you do before putting it into storage. An organization approach can save the day.
Related: 45 Insanely Easy-to-Make Holiday Ornaments
Host with the Most
Give a few of these ideas a try and you’ll be sure to impress your company!
If you have the money to hire a handyman for every household woe, go ahead. But if you want to hang on to your cash and exercise some self-sufficiency, check out these clever products that solve a million and one little problems around the house. Go now!