Start Your Holidays : Holiday Organization, Part 2

It can be both wonderful and overwhelming to travel for the holidays. There is nothing sweeter than your own bed and your own home, but it’s always great to come together and celebrate with family and friends during this time of the year.†

The two things I notice most when staying in another person’s home or having guests of my own are the bathrooms and the coffee situation.†Not in a “is it clean enough” sort of way but more of a “can I find a towel or a spare roll of toilet paper instead of bothering the host” way.

As far as the coffee situation is concerned, I sometimes feel guilty that I practically require coffee to survive on a daily basis. If I’m staying in a home where coffee isn’t the beverage of choice, and I know that, I’ll try to bring some along. And if it is a home where coffee is served, I hope they have some type of creamer. Likewise, if I’m hosting, I try to offer an assortment of creamers as well as decaf and regular coffee.

When it comes to bathrooms, there is nothing quite like getting ready in your own bathroom. To ensure guests are comfortable in your home, make sure the daily essentials–as well as a few extras, if you have the–are accessible and easy to find.

I’m a Costco shopper, so we always have at least five to eight extra toothbrushes in our linen closet. I’ll slip a few of those (packaged) into the guest bathroom in case my guests forgot their toothbrushes. I also have a spare blow dryer and plenty of cosmetic samples for them to try, thanks to my subscription to Birchbox!
Since I value these things when I travel, I put a lot of focus into making sure everything is prepared when guests come to my home. Being organized and prepared beforehand always makes the holiday season easier to enjoy!†

Would you like to win a $50†Starbucks†gift card?

Answer this question in the comments below and you’ll be entered to win:†What do you like best about spending time with your family during the holidays?


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This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

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  1. says

    The best part for me is seeing 4 generations of the women in my family interact. My granny turns 93 this year and I love the stories she tells my 22 year old daughter about her fabulous life.

  2. says

    We live away from our families so being with them on the holidays is always fun because of that. :-) I like to just enjoy dinner together, open gifts with those we exchange with and just chill. On Christmas, my husband and I usually spend the day together in our pjs at home. :-)

  3. says

    I have a HUGE family and most of them live out of town besides my grandparents so it’s always great to see them and catch up over a hot cup of Starbucks french vanilla mocha! :)

  4. says

    I enjoy the lack of schedule. My husband has the week off and we just do things together in a relaxed way compared to the weeks leading up to Christmas.

  5. says

    I have a HUGE family and most of them live out of town besides my grandparents so it’s always great to see them and catch up over a hot cup of Starbucks french vanilla mocha! :)

  6. says

    Unfortunately our guest room has been taken over by children now : 0 ! I do try and reclaim it when we have guests and always provide a tea and coffee tray, but it kinda loses it’s effect when it’s surrounded by lego and kids stuff!! One day we will have a guest room again – and then the children will probably be the ones to visit!! X

  7. says

    I love that my family all lives close enough that we can have long visits and still come home. I love that we are all a bit older now, with families of our own, and watching my nieces and nephews grow and interact with my son. And there’s always lots of laughter and lots of food!

  8. says

    Honestly, my favorite part is curling up with a cup of my dad’s coffee in my parent’s living room. I live 9 hours from my hometown now, and I just cherish these moments, feeling cozy & Christmas-y.

  9. says

    My favorite part is being able to go home to south Florida (I go to school in Georgia) and spending days at the beach with my mom and grandparents. My family also flies down and we have Christmas on the beach! So blessed to have this as our family tradition!

  10. says

    Cute post with good ideas!
    My favorite part of being with my family is being able to connect with them and see my nephew. It’s been a tough year and I look forward to celebrating with my family this year!

  11. says

    I love watching all our kids play together. I do not love being a guest in others homes though. I love your ideas and will use many of them when I have company next.

  12. says

    The best part of the holidays for me is getting to do all my favorite holiday traditions. Getting together with family and friends and enjoying the time we have together! I cannot think of a better way to spend the holidays!

  13. says

    My favorite thing about spending time with my family during the holidays is just watching everyone interact with each other and crack up at them. My extended family is absolutely crazy and they crack me up with all the nonsense they say and do. :)

  14. says

    I love how our family gets into the gifts we give each other after opening them. We usually don’t exchange a lot of presents but the few we do we carry out throughout the day by watching the DVD together (regardless of movie tastes) or play the video game (regardless of skill level). It’s always been a tradition, even as all the kids have become adults. I’d love a Starbucks gift card to treat the fam to some yummy coffee that week!

  15. says

    What I love best about spending time with my family during the holidays, is sharing all of the memories and laughs…and just being able to enjoy each others company. And of course the yummy food! :)

  16. says

    The fact that I don’t really get to see them the rest of the year makes Christmas time that much more special. I love to help my mother in law make cinnamon rolls, and sew with my mother.

  17. says

    My favorite part of spending time with my family during the holidays is how FUN, relaxing and memorable it becomes. Baking treats with my Mom, Skyping my family in Italy with my Dad…I’m always surrounded by love and happiness :)

  18. says

    I love taking my family to a neighborhood where all of the houses are decorated with amazing light displays. Seeing the magic of Christmas through a child’s eyes is pretty special!

  19. says

    My time with family during the holidays signifies the end of the semester and a relaxing break away from school. This break will be especially nice since it’ll mark the end of my first semester of pharmacy school, and the time with my family will be all that much more enjoyable!!

  20. says

    So many of our family traditions revolve around food! We have designated Christmas breakfast items that are ONLY eaten on Christmas morning (or, now that we live out of town, are eaten on our Christmas morning “stand-in” day).

  21. says

    What do you like best about spending time with your family during the holidays?

    I love the traditions, the smells of my hometown and the home I grew up in, spending uninterrupted time with my family that I don’t get to see as much.

    I love Christmas :)

  22. says

    I love the fact that we can all be under one roof at the same time. Our usual holiday tradition is playing Scrabble together:) We do it every year when we all get together.

  23. says

    I completely agree with you that having those simple essentials is important when you have guests. I always want to make sure that my guests have their own private space to relax when in my home! I also love to visit my parents’ house during the holidays because my mom makes it so comfortable to be there. We have our own space and private bathroom and my kids absolutely love to visit!!

    PS. Love those coffee mugs, I might have to make an attempt at making them!

  24. says

    Going to church and reminiscing prior to the start of the service. My little brother was always watched very closely during silent night as he was not careful with his candle. My sister and I loved hairspray back in the day so there were many close calls with his candle and our hair!

  25. says

    As a busy law student, my favorite part of Christmas is being able to spend time with my family and friends without having to think about school, exams, work, etc. Since my sisters and I are now grown and out on our own, I love being able to spend a week of uninterrupted time with them (and our parents!) at Christmas. Lots of baking, our favorite movies, and really good coffee is always a must!

  26. says

    My favorite part of Christmas is Christmas Eve. We open presents, have dinner as a (huge) family, and go to the candle light Christmas Eve service at our church, which is also the church where I grew up with my grandparents and parents.

  27. says

    My parents were here this weekend for an early Christmas. My favorite part was watching them enjoy time with their grandkids and hearing our laughter as we shared stories and memories.

  28. says

    My favorite thing is how no matter how long it has been since you have seen one another, you always pick right back up like you see them every day! And all the little secrets, jokes, and memories you share from growing up together that no one else can understand. That, and the annual Christmas Cousin Croquet game that we play.

  29. says

    The best part of the holidays is gathering together focusing on faith in Christ, our love for Him, and our love and service to each other. The holidays are a constant reminder of what we should focus on throughout the year. We can gather together without work, media, environmental stresses and enjoy our time together.

  30. says

    My family lives far away from me so any holiday I get to spend with them is great.
    I enjoy picking out our tree the day after thanksgiving every year and then putting all up the decorations and lights (inside & out).

  31. says

    I love spending down time with my family playing games. One of our favorite traditions is to play boardgames or nintendo games like Super Mario.

  32. says

    Definitely practicing Christmas carols around the piano at my parents then heading out to carol and take cheer to neighbors and friends! Afterall, “the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!”

  33. says

    I love playing with my niece and nephew and taking them on an “Auntie Jasmin & Uncle Kyle date”. This year we’re going to head to to the aquarium & maybe even see an IMAX movie.

  34. says

    What a lovely giveaway! I moved a province away to be with my husband, so I miss my family dearly. Although we alternate Christmases between my family and my in-laws, it doesn’t matter that I’m not always with my family on Christmas day. It is more about the quality time! The holidays are a time where everyone is in the same place at the same time, which doesn’t happen anytime else. That’s my favorite part of Christmas!

  35. says

    I love seeing how my mom decorates our house and baking lots of goodies (especially Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls – a Christmas must)!

  36. says

    I love walking in to my parents house after now moving across the country and seeing my mom run to the door to greet me and getting a huge hug from my dad. As I have gotten older these moments are what make me smile. To smell Christmas food being baked in our kitchen and my mom’s perfect Christmas tree all put up as it twinkles at night with all the lights off. I love the shopping with family, eating a great Christmas dinner with each other and playing games till late at night. But what I love most about Christmas is knowing I am blessed to have a family that celebrates what Christmas is really about. And that is the best part.

  37. says

    I don’t get to see them often since we live so far away (me in Ohio, family in Texas), so I look forward to the hugs and meals together. As well as the palm trees :)

  38. says

    I just look forward to sitting around and relaxing with my family. We always end up telling old stories about each other and those members of our family that are no longer with us.

  39. says

    My favorite part about spending time with my family is that it’s relaxed but at the same time, since there’s so many people there is always a lot going on. Hope I win the giveaway!

  40. says

    My family is pretty spread out, so Christmas is really the only time we all get together anymore. It’s so fun to see how much everyone has grown and changed in a year, and spend the time telling all of the funny stories. We usually end up laughing more than talking, and that is just fine. Time spent with family is precious and priceless, and something I am so thankful for!

  41. says

    I love the family bonding. Since my dad passed away, the times that we can all get together mean so much.

    Also, spending time with my niece! She’s growing up so fast.

  42. says

    I love that we spend the day together just eating, drinking, playing games. My family seems to always have 1 significant event that occurs during this time and while it may or may not be funny at the time we always laugh about it in the following years! I love this about my family – this year it was a trip to the ER for a cut eye!

  43. says

    My favorite part of spending the Christmas holiday with my family is Christmas Eve. We go to our church’s Christmas Eve service, then afterwards have hors d’oeuvres, listen to Christmas music and enjoy each other’s company.

  44. says

    The best thing for me about the holidays is getting everyone together. We have a big family, so getting all 6 kids + spouses + nieces and nephews together doesn’t happen all the time. My other favorite part is our traditions- all of them!
    callywog (at) hotmail (dot) com

  45. says

    I love catching up with everyone and hearing about all the fun things happening in their lives. It can be challenging to find time to talk since we live on opposite coasts. I also love going on a shopping trip with my sister.

  46. says

    Sadly, I don’t spend holidays with my family. They are all over the country and not here in NC.

    BUT what I do love is that I get time with friends who are more like family to me than my blood relatives. These friends’ kids call me “Aunt Kristin” or “Aunt Kriddie” and I feel like I’m home when I’m in their homes. I’m so thankful year after year that they invite me to join them for Christmas each year (Christmas Eve at one family and Christmas day at another).

  47. says

    I have to agree with some of the others about the food. But I also like that everyone seems be a little happier and more eager to get along around the Holidays – it makes the time quite enjoyable!

  48. says

    Family, food, celebrating our Saviors birth, decorating the tree and house, sending/receiving Christmas cards. These are just a few of my favorite things about Christmas. catie(dot)lundy(at)gmail(dot)com

  49. says

    My favorite part about spending time with my family, is merely just spending time with my family. I go to school 17 hours away from home so when I get home, especially for Christmas, I like to just hang out at home, drink eggnogs and watch movies with them


  50. says

    I like just having all of us in one place at once. One of my brothers and one of my sisters lives far away, so it’s nice to be able to see them both.


  51. says

    This is a very helpful post, Kate!… I like to do special/thoughtful things for our guests, but sometimes just *forget*… Your post will help me to remember! :)

    And I love having everyone *together* for the holidays… The noise and laughter and little people running around… Love, love, love the chaos! :)

  52. says

    I especially love to play with my nieces and nephew when we get together for the holidays. I only see them a few times a year, and I like to get right down on the floor with them and PLAY! Hard and loud. :-)

  53. says

    I love having unscheduled free time to play games, create art or new recipes, and snuggling with stories without feeling like I have to do our everyday jobs.

  54. says

    I would have to say spending time with family is the best! It seems lately with our busy schedules and growing family, the only time my brother, sister, and I are together is over the holidays : )


  55. says

    My favorite thing is catching up, my husband and I live several states away from our family so we enjoy being able to a good time and lots of laughs with them around the holidays.

  56. says

    My favorite aspect about spending time with my family over the holidays is the traditions! My family was always really great at starting new traditions and carrying them on as we got older. We always decorate the day after Thanksgiving, I always make gingerbread cookies, we get a new Christmas ornament from my mother each year (so that when we get married we already have a set,) we always open a present of new pajamas on Christmas Eve, and wake up to homemade cinnamon rolls Christmas morning! Plus so many more!

  57. says

    I <3 being at my parents’ house for the holidays because I can just RELAX there. No laundry, no dog duty, not cleaning or cooking–just a little helping out. YAY!

    heatherl (at) ipass (dot) net

  58. says

    This sounds silly, but I enjoy the cooking for everyone. I love being in my kitchen, but still hearing my family laughing and talking and just enjoying being with each other. It’s the best!

  59. says

    My brother lives in Florida and we are super close. Every Christmas comes home and we just talk about everything! I just love the quality time I get to spend with him around the holidays!

  60. says

    I just like being with my family during the holidays: eating together, looking at Christmas lights, reading Christmas stories, watching Christmas movies, etc.

  61. says

    i just like getting to see everyone. i don’t get to see my family often so it is nice just to chat and catch up in person and play with the nephew.

  62. says

    I like making everything special (decorations, music, desserts) so that the little cousins will always look back and think what fun they had at Aunt Kathy and Uncle Dave’s house.

  63. says

    My favorite part of the holidays is getting together with my mom and sister to set up the tree and holiday decorations and to bake all the yummy treats we send to family and friends.

  64. says

    I’m pretty sure it’s the fact that every time we’re together, we laugh about something, we eat good food, we make new memories, and we grow closer.

  65. says

    Spending time with our family. We moved 2 hours away from my siblings (6 sisters and 1 brother). This is the one time of year you can usually get us all together. <3
    caseyandraye (at)aol(dot)com

  66. says

    I like how when we all get together things get a little crazy and then sparks fly around the house. At least one person is going to shed a tear or two. The joys of family. :)

  67. says

    I love relaxing at home in our jammies all day. Our family is small and we all hang out at one house. We open presents, eat cookies and watch movies all day while being together.

    robinzkj (at) windstream (dot) net

  68. says

    The endless hours of laughing and reminiscing! Although I only live about 5 hours away from my family, I rarely get to visit. We have such a close, tight-knit family that our “reunions” are always something to look forward to :)

  69. says

    I love my family’s annual Christmas dinner. It’s a huge affair with lots of aunts, uncles and cousins. It never fails that most of the night is spent reminiscing and laughing together. janelleknott(at)gmail(dot)com

  70. says

    Now that we’re married we have double the holidays-a lot of people get stressed about it, but we see it as a blessing that we all live so close!

    abbeykruse (at) gmail (dot) com

  71. says

    I always enjoy seeing my sister and her family at Christmas. They come from Minnesota to Wisconsin for the holiday. I also enjoy just spending time with my parents. They are getting older, so I want to make sure to spend every holiday I can with them.

    lisalivingwell (at) gmail (dot) com

  72. says

    I remember while still in school, with all four siblings still at home, I would be so sad when Christmas vacation was over. Christmas was exciting and fun but I loved being home with everyone so much more.

    This year, my husband and I are taking the same time off of work and we couldn’t be more excited to spend the uninterrupted time with each other and our son.


  73. says

    My favorite part of spending time with the family on the holiday is the fact that most of the time, they try to be nice to each other. We all sit around and watch movies together, and its so rare I cherish it.

  74. says

    As a military family, we only get home once or twice per year. I just love being back home and being able to participate in our Christmas traditions: making Christmas goodies, enjoying the same meal we have had for as long as I can remember, wrapping carefully-chosen gifts for family members, waking up super early to see if Santa has visited, church service on Christmas Eve that always ends with our congregation singing Silent Night by candlelight. Oh, how my list could go on… We will not be going back home this Christmas. We’ll be embracing many of our usual traditions and making some new ones here in our home away from home. :)

  75. says

    My favorite part about family and holidays would have to be Christmas Eve. Our family plays Bingo for prizes (usually there are a few gag prizes), we eat my Grandma’s chex mix and fudge, and watch George C. Scotts Christmas Carol. It isn’t Christmas without that movie on. I love the easiness that comes with being together with my family. julianne(dot)loomis(at)yahoo(dot)com

  76. says

    I love all the holiday themed parties. My friend just had a cookie exchange and it was so much fun. I love getting together with family and giving out presents and seeing them smile.

  77. says

    I enjoy the break from routine (and the 5:15 alarm!) and just getting to hang out together. I also love the opportunity to spend some fun time with extended family.

  78. says

    My favorite part of the holidays is watching the excitement that my kids have about this magical season. AND sharing all of it with my parents, who don’t get to spend much time with us during the rest of the year!

  79. says

    The best part about spending the holidays with my family is playing games! My dad buys a bunch of prizes and we play games for hours. We always end up laughing till we can’t breathe and having such a good time.

  80. says

    My favorite part of the Holidays is it’s one week of the year where we have no hockey practice or games and no schedules. Lots of PJ’s and movies. Oh, and food :)

  81. says

    It’s one week where we have no hockey practice, no games, no schedules. Just lots of PJ time and movies. And food of course.


  82. says

    My favorite thing to do with my family is watch my 4 year old with his Nana (my mom). She dotes on him and he loves her so much. I also can’t wait for my grandmother to cook breakfast. She make chocolate and biscuits and the best bacon around.


  83. says

    My favourite part is baking Christmas cookies with my Grandma, Mom, Sister and Nephew – four generations of baking is awesome!


  84. says

    My favorite part is getting to cook & bake with my Dad. We live 1000 miles a part now so we don’t get to see each other most Holiday’s anymore. I remember the first time I took my Husband home to meet my Dad and he asked him why he had a wishbone “graveyard” above his stove. He told him that the wishbone was our tradition and he had saved everyone form every holiday we didn’t get to spend together. This year we were blessed enough that he was able to spend Thanksgiving with me in TX and right before he left my home to catch his flight back we pulled the wishbone…and it split right down the middle.

  85. says

    I enjoy being able to actually relax and enjoy catching up with family during the holidays, it’s the ceremonial end to the hectic shopping season!

  86. says

    I just love getting everyone together! It’s the one time of year everyone’s schedules seem to mesh and we’re all able to be in a central location at the same time. A small miracle. :)

    Thank you for the giveaway!

  87. says

    My favorite thing is just getting to be with my family! I’m away at graduate school across the country and Christmas break is one of the only times we all have at least a few days off to get together!

  88. says

    I have young nieces so right now, my favorite part of the holidays is getting the chance to spend time with them and see how they experience this time of year. My family is also together in one city after years apart, which makes it even more special.

  89. says

    The best part is every evening gathering together to share in making/eating dinner and the great conversation around the table.

    Thanks for the ideas and the giveaway!

  90. says

    I love taking my dog over to my dad’s house, and having them play together. My dad LOVES my Boston Terrier, Monty, and seeing them both freak out about each other is priceless. :)

    graceforgayle {at} gmail {dot} com

  91. says

    The baking!! I also really enjoy spending time with my nieces and nephews and spoiling them some-taking them to the Festival of Lights, holiday concerts, and making and decorating sugar cookies with them!!

  92. says

    We all live pretty close to each other, but with busy schedules it’s not always easy getting together, so the holidays are special days to catch up on our lives and just a great way to say I Love you no matter how busy we get.

  93. says

    I love spending time with my parents, who normally visit us for Christmas. I love hosting them and it’s wonderful to spend a few days with them!

  94. says

    I love spending time with my family and seeing as their families grow. My cousins are spread out over the country and we usually only see each other at the holidays. We definitely make the best of the time while we have it!

  95. says

    My husband and I moved to the US almost a year ago, and this is the first time since that I’ll go back to my home country. Spending time with my family during the holidays this year will mean everything for me this year, since it is such a long time since I last saw them. So, what I like best is that I’m back in my home country, and plenty of lazy days to spend just as we like.

  96. says

    My favorite is all the love around me in every shape and form. You know the real heart-warming, make you emotional, inhale it and wrap you up embracing love? That’s it. Pure and simple.

  97. says

    I love seeing my parents and my daughter spend time together. They don’t get to that often, so it is extra sweet to see it during the holidays. I also love creating traditions to remember

  98. says

    One of my favorite things about spending the holidays with my husbands family are all of the traditions they have and getting to do a bunch of holiday baking! :)

  99. says

    I LIKE being content with just sitting around and doing nothing. Even if we aren’t talking, just being in the same house…knowing my sister is upstairs and not in another state, just brings a closeness and appreciation to me.

  100. says

    I like spending time with family that we don’t get to see more than a few times a year (usually at holidays) – catching up with things that have changed, seeing how the kids have grown, etc.

  101. says

    not having an agenda to meet! It’s nice to just sit around and spend the whole day together snacking on yummy appetizers and holiday cookies.

  102. says

    I love the comfort of my parent home and catching up. As my parents age, I find the time spent with them to be most precious of all. Merry Christmas to all!

  103. says

    I love the laughter and silliness, and eating and drinking holiday things together. It’s usually just such a happy time! I haven’t spent Christmas with family in two years, so I’m really looking forward to waking up late on Christmas morning and hearing the talk and smelling the coffee. It’s something that’s always stuck in my head.

  104. says

    I see my family about once a year, I enjoy talking to them about what happened in the past year, play games, visit attractions in their cities. I’m visiting 3 different states to see family this holiday season, it’s been a lot of fun.
    songyueyu at gmail

  105. says

    I love the laughs and fun with the family at my grandmother’s and spending time with my 2 yr old niece. It’s always a blast.

  106. says

    This is one of the few times a year that we get to visit my fiance’s family. So it’s great just to be able to spend a week with them and catch up!

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