Image: Janis Nicolay
The festivities are over — all the family dinners, open houses, soirees...poof, done! Here are a few things to do around the house this month while you have some downtime.
1 Review presents and hostess gifts
Of course your friends and family love you and were grateful for your hospitality, but no doubt you don't really need all the tokens of affection you received. Surely someone else could make better use of that collection of tea, those pot holders or that picture frame? Hold on to what you love, by all means, but get rid of the rest by dropping it off at Goodwill, Value Village or your favourite charity.
2 Tapers, tea lights, scented...
Candles make the season and since you've probably gone through a whack of them, replace your stock now. They don't have a shelf life so it'll be one less thing to shop for next year.
3 Move the furniture
You may be surprised what you find there. Take the cushions off sofas and chairs, vacuum along the wall behind the furniture and then turn your attention to the inside of the furniture itself. After the hosting you've done, no doubt it needs it.
4 Sort your CDs
Are there songs or compilations you wish you'd had at your last get-together? Are there CDs you just never listen to anymore? Now's the time to get rid of those and make a list of the titles you want to add to your collection. Look online –- some of your favourites may be on sale now.
5 Clean out the fridge
All those half bottles of olives, maraschino cherries, and other garnishes that you use only for special occasions… Those opened containers of sauces, dips and marinades that don't work with weekday meals… why hold on to them? The next time you need them, they will probably have passed their best-before date. Either plan menus around them or get rid of them and don't feel guilty about it.
6 Inspect your seasonal decorations
When you put them away, look for missing hooks or broken bits on balls and wreaths. You can probably fix them yourself, but if you can't, get rid of them now and use this as an excuse to go shopping again. There will no doubt be serious bargains to be had.
7 Restock the liquor cabinet
You may have used up a lot of your mix and stand-by offerings like vodka, rum or scotch. It's always nice to have a few sweet after-dinner bottles as well, and they may also be close to empty now that the guests have gone.
8 Take care of your dinner party accessories
Polish the silver and pack it away carefully. Check table linens for small holes before washing them and putting them away. Don't bother putting them away if they need to be mended. It's easier to take care of this stuff now, rather than adding it to your to-do list when you're in the throes of getting ready for the next holiday.
9 Deal with your pictures
Take that film in if you used a traditional camera or download the precious ones if you've gone digital. If you wait till after the next celebration, you'll feel overwhelmed by them all. Sit down now and edit the great ones from the less-than-stellar and make a plan for them all. As you create a file, e-mail them to people who were in the shots, as a way of saying thank you for celebrating with us. (You'll kill two birds, as they say; see number 10.) And if you're going to hang on to all the shots yourself, pick up a few photo albums now.
10 Send thank-you cards
Keeping on top of holiday notes can be tough when you're in the middle of planning, celebrating and shopping. But now that things have slowed down, there's more time to draft short missives of gratitude. Do it — you'll feel good about it.