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Hosting for the Holidays: Entertaining in Your New Home

Posted on Nov 28, 2023 in Blog

The holiday season is synonymous with warmth, joy, and a house full of loved ones. It’s a time for creating treasured memories, indulging in festive treats, and celebrating traditions new and old. However, playing the quintessential host can present unique challenges, particularly when you’re doing it in a brand-new home. There’s the task of making new spaces feel comfortable and festive, of bringing a sense of familiarity to a different setting. But let’s not overlook the tremendous advantages of hosting in a new model home. With their state-of-the-art amenities and thoughtful designs, these modern residences are tailor-made for stylish, comfortable, and efficient entertaining. So, as we delve into the world of holiday hosting, we’ll focus on practical tips to make the most of your new space, ensuring your holiday gatherings are as warm, inviting, and memorable as ever.

Preparing Your Home for Guests

Cleaning and Organizing

First impressions count, especially when welcoming guests into your new home. Start by decluttering your living areas and tidying away unnecessary items to create a spacious and serene environment. Follow this with a deep clean, paying particular attention to high-traffic areas like the kitchen and bathrooms. Add welcoming touches like fresh flowers, scented candles, and ambient lighting to create a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Safety Measures

Safety should never be compromised, especially when hosting large gatherings. If children will be attending, ensure sharp objects are out of reach and secure loose cords or blinds. For pet owners, create a designated area for your furry friends to prevent accidental trips or food thefts. Additionally, consider the flow of guests around your home – keep main walkways clear and ensure exits are easily accessible in case of emergencies.

Setting Up Guest Rooms

Making your guests feel at home in your space is the pinnacle of hosting. Focus on comfort and personal touches when setting up guest rooms. Invest in high-quality bedding for a restful night’s sleep and ensure ample lighting for practicality and ambiance. Consider adding a welcome basket with essentials like water bottles, snacks, toiletries, and the Wi-Fi password. This will make your guests feel cared for and lend a boutique hotel feel to your new home.

Decorating Your Model Home for the Holidays

Creating a festive yet elegant atmosphere in your new home involves more than just stringing up lights and hanging ornaments. It’s about creating an environment that reflects the holiday spirit and your home’s unique style.

hosting for the holidays entertaining in your new home

Choosing a Theme

A consistent theme can lend cohesion and visual appeal to holiday decorating. Consider the design and colour scheme of your home. A minimalist, monochromatic decor theme may be a fitting choice if the interior is marked by cool, modern lines and neutral colours. For homes with a rustic or traditional style, consider a classic Christmas theme with rich reds, golds, and greens. Remember, the goal is to complement your home’s design, not overwhelm it.

DIY Decor Ideas

DIY decor adds a personal touch to your holiday decorations and can be a fun and affordable activity. Try creating your own wreath using inexpensive materials like ribbons, ornaments, and faux pine branches. Handmade paper snowflakes can be hung in windows or from the ceiling for a winter wonderland effect. Even a simple garland made of popcorn or cranberries can add a festive touch to your home.

Incorporating Natural Elements

Natural elements can add a touch of sophistication to your festive decor and are readily available during the holiday season. Consider incorporating holly branches into your wreath or garland, or use pinecones as table centrepieces. Natural elements like these lend an elegant, organic touch to your decor and bring in the beautiful, outside winter atmosphere. Remember, less is often more when it comes to using natural elements. A few well-placed items can have a significant impact.

Dining and Table Setting

Table Arrangement

Regarding table arrangements, the key is balancing style and functionality. Start by choosing tableware that complements the colour scheme of your home and the holiday theme. Consider using a mix of heirloom pieces and modern dinnerware for a touch of elegance. Seating arrangements can significantly influence the dining experience. A circular seating arrangement encourages conversation among all guests, while a rectangular setting might be more suitable for a larger group. Consider handmade name cards at each place setting for an extra personal touch.

Centrepiece Designs

The centrepiece is the focal point of your table and should reflect the overall theme and elegance of your holiday decor. Consider blending candles, flowers, and holiday ornaments for a traditional Christmas feel. Alternatively, a simple arrangement of pine cones, holly, and white candles for a minimalist look can create a sleek, modern centrepiece. Consider multiple smaller centrepieces for larger tables to maintain balance and visual appeal.

Buffet vs. Sit-Down Dinner

Both buffet and sit-down dinner styles have their own set of pros and cons. A buffet style encourages mingling and allows guests to choose their preferred dishes. It’s also less formal and can be more comfortable for guests. On the other hand, a sit-down dinner offers a more intimate, traditional dining experience. This style requires more planning and organization, particularly about seating arrangements and serving courses. Whichever style you choose, ensure guests have easy access to food, drinks, and seating to make the dining experience as pleasant as possible.

Planning the Festive Menu

Planning the perfect holiday menu can be fulfilling yet challenging, particularly when catering to diverse dietary preferences. Here’s how to navigate this festive culinary adventure.

hosting for the holidays entertaining in your new home food image

Menu Planning Tips

Consider your guests’ dietary restrictions and preferences when planning your holiday menu. Ensure you include a variety of options to cater to vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free, and dairy-free diets. Try to balance heavier, rich traditional dishes with lighter, healthier options. Remember not to overcomplicate things; simplicity often wins the day. Consider dishes that can be made beforehand to lessen the pressure on the day of the event.

Cooking and Serving

Efficient use of your kitchen is crucial when preparing a holiday feast. Plan your cooking schedule to optimize oven and stovetop usage. In terms of serving, presentation is key. Invest in quality serve ware that complements your table setting. To keep food warm, consider using warming trays or chafing dishes. Also, consider buffet-style serving—it minimizes your workload and allows guests to choose what they prefer.

Drinks and Beverages

No festive menu is complete without a selection of refreshing beverages. For a touch of holiday cheer, consider serving themed cocktails and mocktails. Mulled wine, peppermint martinis, or cranberry mimosas can add a festive twist. A hot chocolate bar or a spiced apple cider station could be a big hit for non-alcoholic options. A self-serve beverage station allows your guests to mix their preferred drinks and helps you remain a relaxed and attentive host.

Creating a Comfortable Atmosphere

Music and Entertainment

Setting the right mood for your festive gathering is crucial, and music plays a pivotal role. Create a playlist that reflects the season’s spirit and suits your guests’ tastes. Include a mix of holiday classics, modern renditions, and instrumental tunes to cater to all preferences. As for entertainment, consider activities that can engage guests of all ages. A holiday movie corner for children, board games for adults, or a DIY ornament decorating station can add a touch of fun and ensure no one feels left out.

Seating Arrangements

Efficient seating arrangements can encourage mingling and conversation among guests. Aim for a flexible layout that allows easy movement and conversation. You might want to group seating in clusters throughout your living area or have a central seating area with additional stools or cushions for extra guests. If space allows, consider a designated quiet zone with comfortable seating for guests who may prefer a quieter environment.


Lighting can significantly influence the ambiance of your gathering. Soft, warm lighting creates a cozy and inviting atmosphere. Use a mix of ambient, task, and accent lighting to highlight key areas of your home. Candles and fairy lights can add a festive touch, while a roaring fire in the fireplace can make your space feel instantly welcoming and homely. Dimmable lights are also a great option, allowing you to adjust the lighting levels based on the time of day and mood of the event. Remember, the goal is to create an environment where guests feel comfortable and relaxed.

hosting for the holidays entertaining in your new home

Ideas for Holiday Traditions and Cultural Celebrations

Holiday traditions and cultural celebrations are at the heart of the festive season, creating a sense of community, continuity, and shared memory amongst family and friends. They also provide an opportunity to educate and involve the younger generation in age-old customs, thereby preserving our rich cultural heritage. This section offers an array of ideas on how to incorporate different holiday traditions and cultural celebrations into your festive plans, ensuring a memorable and inclusive holiday season.

Incorporating Diverse Traditions

  • Invite guests to share a holiday custom from their cultural background.
  • Learn about various holiday traditions and incorporate elements into your home decor.
  • Include a variety of foods from different cultures in your holiday menu.
  • Play music from various cultures that celebrate the season.
  • Encourage guests to wear traditional festive attire from their culture.

Creating New Traditions

  • Hold a tree decoration party where everyone brings an ornament.
  • Start a holiday baking day by making cookies and cakes from scratch.
  • Host a holiday movie night featuring classic festive films.
  • Organize a yearly gift exchange game with unique rules.
  • Begin a tradition of volunteering or donating as a group during the festive season.

Storytelling and Sharing

  • Allocate a time during the gathering for guests to share their favourite holiday stories or experiences.
  • Create a storytelling corner with comfortable seating and warm lighting.
  • Encourage guests to share their family holiday traditions and the cultural significance behind them.
  • Consider sharing your holiday stories to set a comfortable tone for sharing.
  • Use prompts or holiday-themed questions to encourage storytelling among guests.

Post-Holiday Cleanup and Organization

After the merriment of the holiday season, it’s time to restore your home to its regular state. Having a systematic approach can make the process less daunting. Let’s look at some strategies for efficient cleanup, storing decorations, and post-holiday home maintenance.

hosting for the holidays entertaining in your new home cleaning image

Efficient Cleanup Strategies

Cleanup doesn’t need to be a daunting task. Start by breaking down the task into manageable parts. Focus on one room at a time to avoid getting overwhelmed. Make use of disposable dishware and utensils to reduce washing up. Recruit family members or friends to help speed up the process. Divide responsibilities among your helpers, assigning specific tasks to each person. Use large trash bags for efficient disposal of waste. Lastly, consider investing in a good quality vacuum cleaner to deal with the aftermath of a party, such as confetti, food crumbs, and the inevitable pine needles from the Christmas tree.

Storing Decorations

Organization is key when it comes to storing holiday decorations. Carefully wrap fragile items in bubble wrap or tissue paper before placing them in storage boxes. Use clear plastic bins for storing decorations so you can easily see what’s inside. Label each box according to what’s inside – lights, ornaments, wreaths, etc. Store similar items together to make decorating easier for the next holiday season. Consider storing items that you’ll need first at the top, such as outdoor lights or door wreaths.

Post-Holiday Home Maintenance

Post-holiday is an ideal time for some home maintenance. Start by inspecting your home for any damages, for instance, carpet stains or scratches on the hardwood floor from moving furniture during the party. Schedule a professional carpet cleaning if necessary. Check your plumbing system after the increased usage during the holidays. Clean your oven and stove after cooking the holiday meals. Lastly, don’t forget about your Christmas tree. Check your local recycling program for disposal options if you have a real tree. After the hustle and bustle of the holidays, your home deserves a little TLC too.


Successful holiday hosting in your model home involves detailed planning and creating a warm, welcoming environment. Remember, the seating arrangement should foster easy conversation and movement. A well-lit space sets the mood and atmosphere for the gathering. Incorporating diverse holiday traditions and creating new ones can make the festive season more memorable and inclusive. And finally, don’t let post-holiday cleanup overwhelm you – break it down into manageable tasks and organize effectively.

The joy of hosting is a wonderful experience to share in your new model home. Embrace the holiday spirit, invite your loved ones, and create unforgettable memories. We invite you to explore more about our company’s model homes and envision the countless holiday gatherings you could host. Or, if you’ve already hosted a holiday event in your new model home, we’d love to hear about it! Share your experiences and tips in the comments below. Here’s to the joy of hosting and a festive holiday season!

At San Rufo Homes, we invite you to start your new home journey with us. Located in St. Albert, AB, we specialize in crafting homes that mirror your desires, needs, and practicality. We are committed to turning your dream home into a reality and providing you with a home-building experience that’s as unique and personal as the home we build for you. Don’t wait another day to live your dream. Contact us now, and let’s embark on this exciting home-building journey together.

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