How to Prepare Your Home for the Holidays

The Elystan and Chalice Dining Tables.

The Christmas countdown has begun. And whether you began picking up gifts in late June or you’re a die-hard panic-buyer, at the top of your party season to-do list should be preparing your home for the holidays.

With sleigh bells about to start ringing very soon, and following two years of festivities limited by the pandemic, it feels more important than ever to enjoy a truly special celebration with our favourite people. We’re all craving a Christmas to remember—and we’re all keen to be the perfect hosts and hostesses.

Whether you’ve got an army of guests descending on you for the week, or it’s just your children returning for a few days, make sure your home looks as welcoming, cosy, and festive as possible for when everyone walks through the door.

Here are 7 tips for preparing your home for Christmas. Going beyond baubles and floral wreaths, we’ve picked out unique gifts, delicious delicacies, and other extra touches to consider. After all, Christmas comes but once a year.

Re-Work Your Dining Room For Holiday Entertaining

During the festive period, your dining room will be the heart of the celebrations. This is where Christmas dinner happens—the climax of Christmas day.

So before the real rush arrives—wrapping last-minute Secret Santa presents, making the turkey stuffing, adding final decorations to the tree—take this time to ensure your dining room is infused with the requisite holiday spirit for a stress-free and spectacular occasion.

First, cover the basics. Do you have dining chairs for everyone? And is your table big enough for comfortable seating for a crowd? The recommended space is 70 cm per person.

A circular dining table is a great choice for Christmas as it feels more intimate and convivial. It’s also ideal for post-dinner cards or board games. Check out DAVIDSON’s range of award-winning dining tables if you fancy pulling out all the stops with a show-stopping dining table.

Next, consider investing in a drinks trolley where you can put all the boozy paraphernalia. This will stop people coming in and out of the kitchen fetching glasses, bottles, and ice, getting in the way of meal preparation. Add a few decanters—like this Richard Brendon Fluted Decanter at Fortnum & Mason—as well as this Art Deco Ice-Bucket by Reflections Copenhagen, and people will have all they need to prepare their tipple of choice.

A drinks cabinet is an even better idea and could be a permanent fixture in your dining room. Check out DAVIDSON’s Collins Cocktail Cabinet for inspiration.

You might also want a coffee and tea station, complete with sugar, cups, saucers, and spoons. This way people can make their own hot beverages. Little additions like a Fortnum & Mason Bespoke Tea Blend for the tea enthusiast among your guests, or some Harrods Hot Chocolate, are a nice touch.

Ensuring all your crockery and cutlery are up to the task of Christmas catering is another important step and picking up spares is a wise move. 

We particularly like these Fortnum & Mason Culinary Concepts Stag Cheese Knives in silver (best combined with this Ultimate French Cheese Selection).

Place all the crockery out of the cupboards and ready to go on your sideboard. Don’t have a sideboard that meets the necessary aesthetic standards? Take a look at our Hudson Sideboard, with its sultry marquetry, or the Abstract Sideboard (image), available in a range of glossy timber finishes.

Christmas Crackers are obviously a must. And we love the idea of adding one of these Mini Hamper Christmas Decorations by Fortnum & Mason alongside place settings with a personalised gift for each of guest. They can also be hung on the Christmas tree if you prefer.

Prep Your Entrance Hall

Getting your entrance hall ready to welcome guests begins with a declutter and tidy. Get rid of anything that’s not essential as you’re soon going to have to accommodate a multitude of additional jackets and boots.

Next, pick out tasteful decorations as well as a wreath. We recommend this Mackenzie-Childs Farmhouse Wreath, or maybe this Gisela Graham Eucalyptus and Blueberry Wreath for alternative seasonal sophistication.

Finally, ensure everyone’s got everything they need for all the Christmas activities, including wintery strolls, by investing in a couple of extra scarfs (like this Fortnum & Mason Tartan cashmere scarf) and this sophisticated Kensington Walking Umbrella for the inevitable rainy day.

Restock Your Gift Cupboard

Getting your gift cupboard stocked with all the wrapping necessities, including tape and gift tags, is crucial. You don’t want to get to Christmas Eve and discover you’ve only got a few inches of sellotape left.

Start picking up stocking fillers now to stay ahead of the game. Harrods has some highly covetable options, including this Acqua Di Parma holiday selection fragrance gift set, as well as gifts for kiddies, including these gorgeous Faux fur ear muffs by Hucklebones London.

Some of our favourite wrapping paper is by Caspari. Harrods also offers a gift-wrapping service if you don’t fancy the annual origami headache. Remember to pick up a few extra Christmas cards (like this pop-up nutcracker card) just in case guests forget their own.

Finally, may we suggest you bring a bit of order to the present pile by investing in some of these Fortnum & Mason Personalised Tartan Hessian Santa Sacks?

Revamp Your Media Room With A Seasonal Vibe

As with the other rooms in your house, prepare your drawing room with an initial declutter. This room will feature heavily in the festivities, from present opening to after-dinner lounging, and will quickly fill up with people and their possessions. So take this opportunity to remove everything that isn’t essential.

Of course, you’ll also want to make space for the Christmas tree. Check out Harrods’ range of Christmas trees, from snowy Norway spruces to 8ft fir trees and miniature Pastel Shimmer Trees, only 45 cm tall. The size of your tree will depend on the room. You could always consider having two smaller trees rather than a single large one.

Keeping the decor fairly neutral will bring some much-needed calm to the space before the festive frenzy begins. You might also invest in attractive storage solutions to contain unsightly clutter. For example, our sleek Ebury Media Unit with its abundance of storage space and plenty of nooks for beautiful Christmas displays.

Talking of which, we have our eye on this World Nativity Set, as well as this Villeroy & Boch Musical Santa figure that sings Santa Claus is coming to town. And why not make your display a true sensory experience with this Fortnum & Mason Bamford 12 Days of Christmas Candle, scented with cinnamon and clove?

As for entertainment, make the day digital-free and instead opt for some good old-fashioned pastimes. There’s this Printworks Classic Chess set, for example, which would also make a lovely gift. Or you could take it up a level with the DAVIDSON Aldridge Games Table.

Of course, you’ll want a station set up for drinks in your media room as well as your dining room. But rather than a drinks cabinet, why not go the whole hog and invest in a home bar? The DAVIDSON Vesper Home Bar—with its Nero Assoluto black granite worktop and antique mirrored backboard—is just the ticket.

Do Up Your Guest Room For Visitors

Preparing your guest room for the onslaught of arrivals is more than a question of dusting and tidying. Making their stay really special means adding extra touches. Some luxury linen, for example, as well as cosy blankets and plenty of cushions.

Use this opportunity to place an unexpected surprise gift on the pillow, such as this Fortnum’s x Rosie Sugden Cashmere Bed Socks gift set.

And don’t forget the bathroom. If it was us, we’d add these organic cotton towels by Zoffany or this luxurious Ralph Lauren Home bathrobe. And this Fortnum & Mason Aromatherapy Associates Bath & Shower Oil Collection is a perfect finishing touch—as is this Claus Porto Deco Soap Gift Box. Your guests will be raving about their stay for years to come.

Claus Porto Deco Soap Gift Box from Fortnum and Mason.

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Welcome Your Children Back Home

As Dr Seuss said, “Adults are just outdated children.” No matter how old they are, your kids still associate coming back home for Christmas with the festive magic of their childhood. This is your chance to lean into the nostalgia with some charming little additions.

This Fortnum’s Animated Christmas tree, for example, will put a smile on anyone’s face. Or you could spell out your child’s name with these Fortnum’s Alphabet Christmas Decorations.

If your kids would prefer something cooler and more cutting-edge, try this Shishi metal Christmas tree. Or, even better, this Mackenzie-Childs Courtly Check Resting Reindeer

And who wouldn’t want to come across the Harrods Christmas Bear 2022 Louie on their bed?

Make Sure The Pantry Is Well-Stocked

Finally, it’s not Christmas without an extravagant feast. The holidays are synonymous with hearty meals so make sure there’s plenty to go around. Hungry guests are not happy guests so stock up on snacks, such as a Fortnum’s Mini Pie Selection, Triple Chocolate Panettone, Christmas Almond Mince Pies, or Harrods’ best-selling cocoa-dusted pistachios.

Even better, opt for this Fortnum & Mason Classic Christmas Hamper, with drinks, puddings, biscuits, and jams. Combine it with the Savoury Selection Hamper and you’ve got everyone’s tastes covered.

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