In the midst of all the Holiday commotion, we can sometimes become so overwhelmed by the magnitude of the preparations necessary for entertaining that we can forget the most basic. For this reason, we offer you this list of tips and tricks to make it easier for you to create an atmosphere that will leave your guests with lasting memories!

Plan for the invasion


  • Place a carpet in your vestibule that will absorb melting snow, ensure a non-slippery surface and protect the floor’s finish.
  • When you need more space for boots, the bathtub can come in handy. However, cover the bottom to avoid scratches and absorb any dirt and salt that could block the drain.
  • Set the air exchanger to high speed to exhaust excess humidity created by intensive cooking and the presence of  many guests. Excess humidity can often be seen by “sweating” glass surfaces. To find out more about condensation and its consequences, read our “Tips & Tricks” feature on this subject.
  • Is your home not equipped with an air exchanger? Aerate the house by letting the bathroom or stove-hood fan run continuously on low speed and leave a window open a crack.

Think safety!

  • • If young children are expected, store tools and hazardous products out of their reach. At minimum, restrict access to possibly unsafe areas, such as garages, workshops, storage areas and cupboards, including low dresser drawers and bathroom medicine cabinets. Our “Tips & Tricks” item on keeping young children safe in the home will help you ensure you leave nothing to chance.
  • Immediately pick up all gift wrapping material (foam “peanuts,” garbage bag ties, plastic bags, etc.), that could pose a choking or suffocation hazard to children.
  • Check to be sure you have a complete first-aid kit and keep the Quebec Poison Control Centre number where everyone can quickly find it: 1 800 463-5060.
  • Avoid wrapping garlands around stairway guardrails so that they can be easily be gripped and used for their primary purpose: support.
  • Keep an eye on lit candles: they should never be left unwatched or where they can be knocked over by children or pets, or anywhere near decorations and wrapping paper.

Blocked sinks or toilets: preventing common problems

  • Place a strainer that is easy to install and remove in sink drains so that you will be able to catch food waste. And take a few minutes to read our “Tips & Tricks” feature on unclogging drains. Our emergency home remedy for unblocking a pipe or drain could help get you out of a difficult spot.
  • In bathrooms, keep a toilet plunger close at hand.

Check your drinking water!

  • If your drinking water is supplied by an artesian or surface well, be extra vigilant! If you haven’t had a recent laboratory test of your water to confirm its quality, you should advise your guests. And place a little cautionary note at every tap.
  • There is no such thing as a bottomless well. With all the noise and activity, you might not notice that a toilet is “running” or a tap hasn’t been closed properly. Running out of water in the midst of Holiday celebration can pour a cold shower on festivities. Be attentive!

And don’t forget the outdoors

  • Contact your neighbours and wish them Happy Holidays... then alert them to your merrymaking plans. This is even more important if the celebrations are likely to extend into the wee hours.
  • Be sure to clear the snow and ice and illuminate pedestrian accesses to your home (sidewalk, staircases, decks, etc.). Moderately use environmentally friendly and effective de-icing and anti-slip compounds. Our Tips & Tricks” feature on de-icers will help you decide what to buy.
  • If you will be inviting smokers, prepare metal containers filled with sand for them to use. Traditional ashtrays are of little use outdoors, and bottles and cans are poor substitutes.

Think “green” for the Holidays...

  • Are you planning on having a Christmas tree? Think green for everyone’s sake.
  • Choose eco-friendly, energy efficient and safe decorations.
  • Recover and recycle wrapping paper and boxes.

After the storm…

After the last guests have left and as tired as you may be, resist the temptation to hit the sack right away. First, do a tour of the house to make sure that everything is shipshape. Pay particular attention to candles and ashtrays, and turn off all Christmas decorations.

Finally, don’t forget to shut the window you may have left open a crack earlier to circulate air and reduce humidity, and turn off the bathroom and stove fans.