Help us build the Food52 Holiday App. Give us your tried and true holiday entertaining tips.
Clean towels, extra rolls of toilet paper, liquid soap, and if I'm being very fancy, a bud vase with a couple of flowers in it. Nothing, however, trumps making sure it's simply very clean.
Oh yah, it's got to be clean - including baseboards and what you can see when you close the door. I love all the flavored air plugins they have nowadays that are holiday themed - christmas pine, pumpkin, etc. As long as it's not too overpowering - plug in a new one a day or two before guests arise so that it's not quite as pungent. And I'm with amysarah about liquid soap - no messy bars. I also would make sure there is a spray scent (same sent as the plugin) in case a little burst of extra fragrance is required!
For Thanksgiving I will set out a couple of mums and tuck some fall foliage behind the mirror; for Christmas, a couple poinsettias and some pine sprigs behind the mirror. I had stopped setting out holiday-themed disposable guest towels because everyone was afraid to use them; I solved this by crumbling up one or two visibly in the waste basket BEFORE the guests arrived.
I agree with a clean bathroom being first on the list, I do have special hand towels but actually like the disposable ones they are convenient and sanitary. Always put flowers and a nice bottle of liquid soap. I also like to have fragrant candle.
I always put a small vase of flowers. Cleanliness is a must. I also love the disposable hand towels. Since I have no outlets in my bathroom (old house!), I usually put (unlit) scented candles. Stock up on TP and liquid soap. I also make sure to pop there to check on things throughout the event, wipe down the sink, restock the TP, empty the trash, etc. Just because it starts clean, doesn't mean it stays clean... Also, remove anything from the cabinets that you don't want your guests to know you have: foot powder, denture cream, other odd ball items...
Ditto Helen's All Night Diner -- absolutely empty the medicine cabinet!!!
If there's room on the counter, a small lamp is a nice touch, and beats the pants over strong overhead lighting at an evening event.
A little basket with travel-sized hair spray, nice hand lotion and such -- so your guests DON'T go rooting through your cupboards can be helpful.
Yes to Helen's All Night Diner - and remove the cat's litter box to another location.