Thoughts on Preparing for Holiday Guests

Preparing for holiday guests can be so much fun and yet totally exhausting all at the same time.

Most of us spend hours scrubbing the house spotless, planning a perfectly well-balanced menu, and making sure there are fresh towels in the linen closet.

It’s a beautiful gift to host but it can also feel like a bit of a whirlwind. 

Then as your guests pull out of the driveway it’s like a slow exhale.

You’re sad to see them go because you’ve had such a great visit.

But you also know you’ll have to walk back inside, clean the house all over again, and get ready for the workweek.

The Gift Of Hospitality…

I think about holiday entertaining a lot given my parent’s home, Bliss Barracks, is a revolving door of guests dropping by for a visit.

The thing that always amazes me is that my Mom rarely seems to get rattled in the midst of the craziness.

I truly believe it’s because she’s been given a heart for hospitality and her expectations are always realistic.

Preparing for Holiday Guests-The Crowned Goat

She knows someone will probably spill a drink on the Turkish rug my dad had shipped over while he was deployed.

She understands someone may unexpectedly require a specialty item and she’ll have to make an extra trip to the store before the sun comes up.

My Mom also understands there is going to be a mountain of laundry.

Especially if all of the bedrooms upstairs are being used.

Even still, she continues to make every person feel welcome because she’s happy to have them in her home.

Preparing for Holiday Guests While Managing Expectations…

It’s the lessons of realistic expectations and a heart for hospitality that have been instilled in us over the years that make preparing for holiday guests seem as normal as having green eyes.

If you’re looking around your house right now thinking, “That’s awesome for you, CoCo, but my house is not _________________ (feel free to fill in the blank with whatever you’re thinking right now)…

  • instagram worthy
  • big enough
  • clean enough
  • in a great neighborhood
  • ready at all
  • like what I see in magazines
  • really my style

…let me assure you I can completely relate.

I’ve had some of those same thoughts too.

When I first started blogging, this was my breakfast nook.

Believe me, it didn’t feel Pinterest-worthy at all either.

But one day we had a workday at my sister’s first fixer-upper and it completely changed my mind about what truly makes a house a home.

Making Memories Despite the Imperfections…

Several years ago, my baby sister bought a house we lovingly called Hawk’s Ridge.

It was a fixer-upper.

As a gift, our pod decided to have a work day to help her put a fresh coat of paint on the walls, pull up old carpet, and take down broken door trim. 

I was dressed in long sleeves, overalls, and work boots.

And since I’m giving you a visual, I had bits of cotton in my ears, chemistry experiment-style safety glasses, a respirator, and a knit cap to protect my wild curls from “flying debris.”

Basically, it would have been easier to wear a hazmat suit.

But I was all in.

Preparing for Holiday Guests-The Crowned Goat

By midday, we had piled up on her screened porch waiting for lunch to be delivered.

We were super gross, smelly, and totally exhausted.

But I come from a competitive family and even in the midst of total exhaustion, we decided to have a “biggest arm muscle” contest.

I have no idea why because some of us had “muscles” the size of shallots.

But the belly laughter that ensued with our pod sitting on the small front porch dirty and sweaty from giving our best gifts to my sister while eating sandwiches from parchment paper and drinking sweet tea is a memory I’ll never forget.

Had my sister waited until her home was “perfect” or “finished” or “good enough” we would have missed out on all that fun!

Preparing Your Heart and Home for Guests This Holiday Season…

As we prepare our home for holiday guests, be it overnight guests, a gathering of your besties for drinks, or hosting a feast for hundreds, I hope we can spend more time thinking about how to make them feel loved, welcomed, appreciated, and nurtured.

Instead of thinking about matching dishes and whether or not the wreaths on our front door are “insta worthy.”

Our best gifts are enough.

Preparing for Holiday Guests: Creating a Drink Station on the Porch-The Crowned Goat

Our homes are enough.

Preparing for Holiday Guests: Creating a Dessert Station on the Porch-The Crowned Goat

We are enough.

Preparing for Holiday Guests: Creating an Inviting Porch-The Crowned Goat

Are we going to make our homes as cozy as we can possibly make them?

Of course!

We might even light a fire in the fireplace and pop popcorn!

We might even walk the neighborhood, look at Christmas lights, and sip on apple cider.

After all, making memories is one of the best parts of the holidays.

Preparing for Holiday Guests-The Crowned Goat

But we are not going to obsess about the hair that may or may not fall while the dogs are walking from the living room to the front door.

Or the napkin that is a slightly different shade of blush than our china. 

Nor how “bulky” we may or may not look in the sweater we grabbed at the last minute on our way to the checkout line because we are enough and our homes are enough.

You with me?

Cheering you on as you take the pressure off and choose grace, not perfection this holiday season.

Preparing for Holiday Guests-The Crowned Goat

Other Holiday Favorites to Enjoy:

Embracing Fall Home Tour

Fall Porch Decorating Ideas

Fall Inspired Outdoor Dessert Buffet

How to Create a Thanksgiving Vignette

How to Create a Thanksgiving Vignette-The Crowned Goat
Until next time, I’ll see you on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

Many blessings,


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  1. I’ve been waiting for someone to say this! I’m so sick of seeing “perfectly styled” lives on IG. No one lives that way 24/7! Thanks for bringing us back to the stuff that matters.

    1. I appreciate you speaking up, Bonnie, thank you. As a blogger it can be hard to walk the line between wanting to inspire others with our creative talents while at the same time sharing all those relatable moments that happen in “real life.” I think it’s important to keep the perspective that things aren’t always what they seem in anyone’s life because we’re all just trying to put our best foot forward. That being said, as long as we stick to our true value instead of trying to keep up or impress others in order to appear important we’ll never miss out on what truly matters…love, friendship, kindness, service to others and family. Sending you hugs, CoCo

  2. You’ve just taken the pressure off my holidays, THANK YOU!

    1. What a sweet thing to say, Sarah, thank you! Hugs, CoCo

  3. I hope you plan on sharing more encouraging posts like this CoCo. They’re my favorite!

    1. What a kind thing to say, Brandy, thank you! I’ve been getting more requests like this through emails especially after the hurricane post. I appreciate your input and will certainly do my best as we enter the holiday season. Hugs, CoCo

  4. Love this post, CoCo! It’s fun to see more of you in the post pictures

  5. Liz Bonin says:

    Every time you post a photo of yourself all I think is im so jealous of your thick wavy hair! What a truly lovely post this morning-words and photos❤️

    1. You’re the sweetest, Liz! I appreciate you so much and wish ALL THE TIME we lived closer. Big hugs and lots of love, CoCo

  6. A house is just a house, when you add family and friends, it becomes a home. Grins, love your post, Sandi

    1. I so agree with you, Sandi, you are spot on lady! Thanks for your sweet words and I hope your day is a blessed one, CoCo

  7. Great post Coco! I love this. I think this holiday season should be named “The Year of Memories” because I know my focus has shifted to the idea that less is more and time is the most precious of the gifts we have to give/receive. Have a great Monday!

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more, Nancy, well said! Hugs, CoCo

  8. Oh my gosh I’m in love with your decor!! How cute?!

  9. Thank you CoCo for saying the quiet part loud! Even though we too are in the “biz” we know for a fact at what our homes look like behind the scenes. Thanks for sharing!

    1. ha ha I was thinking about what my inventory closet and office used to look like this time last year…it was nuts, right? Good thing we have each other to help stay on track guests or no guests. Hugs, CoCo

  10. I really enjoyed the stories you shared about your Mom and sister. Especially the parts about not getting so caught up in the details that we miss the opportunity to share time with loved ones. This is such a great perspective to arm ourselves with going into the holidays.

    1. So kind of you to say, Heidi, thank you! It can definitely be hard not to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. While I definitely appreciate how magical the weeks leading up to Christmas can be I try to remind myself not to cram a year’s worth of memory making into one month because that is way too much stress and pressure for everyone involved 🤣

    1. Thanks so much, Lovely, I really appreciate it! Hope you’re having the best day, CoCo

  11. I love gettng really for our family to come in for the holidays. They have been working hard and need full on welcome for Mom and Dad. Still, we also need to be geniune and have fun. Nice when they walk in…within a few hosrs or minutes…totally lived in ! And I love it!

    1. Yes to everything you said, Linda! All of my parent’s siblings live in the same hometown because my parents were high school sweethearts and the only ones to move away. Every time we go back home they are all standing at the door ready to greet us. Sometimes my mom and her sisters are hugging us with aprons on and sometimes my Dad gives me a quick squeeze because he’s off to watch the turkey but the fact they all show up to greet and welcome us home means the world. They don’t worry about picky eaters or matching china or if we use the right goblet, they just love on us in the best possible way and it sounds like your family is gearing up to do the same. Enjoy every minute! Hugs, CoCo

  12. You always have a way of putting things in perspective at just the right time. I needed this post! Thank you!

    1. So sweet of you to say, Christine, thank you! The holidays can definitely become a total pressure cooker if we’re not careful. Always remember, you were created on purpose and have amazing gifts to share with the world. You are treasured, loved, and definitely appreciated. Hugs, CoCo

  13. Oh I needed this! Our oldest is bringing his new girlfriend home for the first time and they are arriving 2 days earlier than I thought as well as it being the week of our academic meet at school…and I’m in charge…!
    Thank you!

    1. Goodness Margaret that is really exciting and definitely something that will keep you on your toes too! I’m cheering you on as I know it will be an extra special time for you and your family. She’s certainly a lucky lady to have a seat at your table. Sending you hugs, CoCo

  14. Lovely post CoCo. I know this deep in my core but when we get caught up in the craziness sometimes we forget. Thanks for the timely reminder friend. I loved hearing all about your family. Those memories are the best! Happy Thanksgiving! XO- MaryJo

  15. I needed this one! I must be good at faking it, because people seem to think I’m calm, cool, and collected at these gatherings. However, on the inside, the opposite is true. I’m determined that this year will be different! Thanks for the encouragement!

  16. You are amazing, my friend. I would love to share this on my Saturday newsletter. Hugs and blessings to you.

    1. That is so sweet of you, Renae, thank you so much. I really appreciate it! Hugs, CoCo

  17. I know many people who don’t get together with their families because they don’t feel like their homes are big enough or nice enough to host others! It’s so important to remember it’s not about the house or the surroundings, it’s about the people and the bonds that are nurtured by spending quality time together! Thanks for this beautiful reminder!

  18. I’m with you!!! I love this post CoCo, this is the first year I am relaxing my expectations and we are using Hobby Lobby plates and napkins my dear mother in law is bringing. I’m not making all of the sides, and I’m planning to host with a clean house and a roasted turkey. It feels wonderful to give ourselves the grace we would certainly give others. What a blessing to make memories instead of everything perfect 🥰 hugs! Xx Tanya

  19. Oh Coco, you are so right. I have learned that over the years, but still some of those perfectionist qualities still linger, needed to be killed with a hammer!! lol I have been thinking along the same lines just yesterday as I was planning our 2nd Thanksgiving table, this one for dinner………..the other one for brunch….decided on paper goods for brunch, and as much as I want to make it really pretty, I decided on my everyday white
    corelle ware for dinner, which is so much lighter and easier to clean, and may just put the napkins and silver ware on the table, and since we serve buffet style just put the plates and salad plates in the kitchen for a change. My kids have had fancy tables there whole lives and at this point they could care less…….and me too,
    we just want to visit and have fun. It’s the time and fun together than really matters. I loved doing all that but at my age I just don’t have all the energy I used to……………lol
    So onward with an easy, more relaxed, and fun holiday, and will be cheering you on too, my dear.
    Happy Thanksgiving Blessings,

  20. Thanks for the gentle reminder to be kind to ourselves. Love reading your posts CoCo. Have a wonderful holiday!

    1. I appreciate that so much, Jan, thank you! Wishing you and your family a richly blessed holiday as well. Big hugs, CoCo

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