Entertaining tips: prepare, prepare, prepare

(NC) -- The holiday season is a time for getting together with friends and family. Whether you are eager to send out invitations to your holiday get-together or have reluctantly agreed to host a gathering, you'll need to start preparing your home for entertaining. This can mean everything from exterior maintenance to insulating and air sealing your home properly.

Advertisers and marketers would lead us to believe entertaining requires essentials like holiday drinks, seasonal foods, and the latest and greatest gifts. However, what can really leave your guests feeling content is not being the trendiest host, but the steps you take to prepare your home for your event. Here are a few preparation tips that are bound to leave your guests feeling comfortable this holiday season:

Protect your home for the weather: Make sure your home is properly insulated for the winter season. You don't want your guests feeling a cool draft in the living room or chilled overnight. Easy-to-use products like Great Stuff Insulating Foam Sealants from Dow enable you to quickly fill in those gaps and cracks around your home that let cool air in. Review Dow's checklist (greatstuff.dow.com/pdfs/checklist.pdf) for do-it-yourself projects that can make your home more comfortable this holiday season.

Prepare your fireplace: A fireplace has the ability to set the mood of your event. Prior to lighting up the fire, ensure your fireplace is up-to-date. Be sure to put a screen at the top of your chimney to keep out rodents and birds. Also, if you haven't used your chimney since last winter, make sure to remove the soot build-up. Tackle this task prior to the day of your event as removing wildlife and soot can require hiring experts.

Clean out your gutters: The exterior of your home is the first impression your guests will have of your event. Clean out the fall leaves and debris from your gutters to give your home a cleaner look. This will also help rain and snow drain, preventing blockages and making any leaks visible for repair.

Also, remember not to let your entertaining schedules go overboard; holidays are supposed to be relaxing after all!


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