Courtney Warren is a Texas-based interior designer whose work has been featured in Real Simple, Better Homes & Gardens, Good Housekeeping, Apartment Therapy, and Today.com. She is a frequent consultant on Fox 4 TV’s Good Day program in Dallas, was ranked in the top 3 percent of interior designers in the US by Houzz.com, and starred in the Dallas episode of TLC’sFour Houses. She delights in helping overwhelmed clients create beautiful spaces—and will never turn down a warm chocolate chip cookie or Diet Dr Pepper.
Christmas is THIS WEEK y’all! As excited as I am for eggnog, cozy gatherings by the fire, and food comas, I’m STILL getting things in order. We all know how crazy the holidays can get, so I’m all about over-preparing and then going with the flow! Over the years, I’ve come up with a Christmas Day Survival Kit — an emergency kit that never fails to save me in some way (big or small).
If you don’t have a survival kit yet, try to make one this year! I promise you; it will save you some serious stress and headaches during your holiday week. Here are my essentials:
Probably the first stressor (and an awkward one) is not having enough space to seat your guests (expected or unexpected and children).
You can never go wrong with having a few foldable stools and benches tucked away in your closets or storage. And yes, they CAN be aesthetically pleasing! We’re all about adding savvy furniture that’s good looking and super functional too.
Whether you’re hosting a socially distanced evening outside or spending this holiday season with a handful of family members inside, there’s something on this list for everyone.
I’m also a big fan of performance fabrics that clean up well (because we ALL know someone’s going to spill some wine somewhere). Clear furniture is nice too. For example, acrylic chairs complement most decor styles and don’t stain or only need a quick wipe down. Some are stackable too, so this is a great option if you’re tight on space.
Seating extra bums can go beyond traditional chairs too! Splurge on some big floor pillows for kids. Your kid’s friends will also enjoy sitting on poufs to hang out or play video games. A lot of poufs come with removable and machine washable covers so that’s always a plus!
We’ve got this one in our living room–it’s got tons of character! With 1,2,3,4,5 printed in black ink, it’s a comfy white stitched seat. Cube stools that open up for more storage (I always say yes to anything that helps me stay more organized) are great options too!
Besides seating, getting your essentials in check will prevent you from running to the store last-minute—things like extra trash bags, batteries, and scissors. I use a planner and set up a wrapping station in advance to tone down the chaos as much as I can come holiday week!
Be sure to set up trash stations throughout your spaces, so it’s an easy cleanup post-party (and guests aren’t leaving their dirty napkins around).
Note to self: keep some bath salts on hand and chamomile tea. Whatever works for you — definitely make sure you’ve got some self-care tricks up your sleeve. Anything to soothe your tension and relax your mind! Stress doesn’t get easier if you’re mind is all over the place, am I right?
Hosting is stressful enough! So it’s understandable if you’re not finding time to check in on everyone AND take photos (at least good ones). An easy way to kick this one off your plate? — Assign a picture-taker. Preferably someone who ENJOYS photography and has a decent sense of what “a good camera angle and lighting” really means. You can have some fun with it too–make them a custom badge to wear throughout the party “Festive Photography at Your Service.”
As a token of appreciation, get them a special holåiday thank you gift too!
There’s a lot of great Holiday playlists on iTunes (and YouTube) if you don’t have the patience (or time) to create one! Holiday classics are a nice way to break any social anxiety or boredom and set the mood just right.
The anticipation of what’s to come! Giving presents to our loved ones is a grateful experience that does end quickly. An easy way to prevent happy vibes from dying out AND keep your crew occupied? Play games that adults and children can BOTH chime in on:
We love this list by Good Housekeeping– it gives you 30 Christmas day game options that the whole family can play. Are you ready for some merry competition?!
How else do you stay sane during the holidays? We’re excited to hear from you! For now…
We wish you and your loved ones JOY and PEACE this holiday season from all of us here at Courtney Warren Home!
Design doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive. I offer a complimentary, no-strings-attached phone call consultation. We can also consult by video conference. If you’d like to meet in your home, please know we will use all current safety protocols.
I’m excited to walk on this journey of life, family, and with you. If you’ve got any design dilemmas or questions on your mind, please get in touch! Find me here for now (AND share your Christmas Day plans with us):
And check out what we can do for YOU on our YouTube Channel– Real Life Design with Courtney Warren Home: