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The Survivor's Nest - Five Tips to Make Your Home Party Ready

True hospitality comes from the heart, and is not the product of ostentatious and expensive material surroundings. Eleanor Roosevelt

Opening your nest to friends and relatives during the holiday season should not be a stressful ordeal. You can make your home party ready and still have a great time by following my five tips:

1. Don't over clean your house: I used to spend hours cleaning before company came. Of course, 20 minutes after they arrived, the place was a happy mess. Focus on removing clutter, especially personal items such as mail and bills. If you must dust, dust only where it is obviously needed and leave the rest until the after party clean up. If you want to spend your cleaning time wisely, focus on the powder room.

2. Pull together friendly seating arrangements: Have you ever taken a seat in a room where all of the furniture is pushed up against the walls? Was it easy to have a conversation with someone sitting across from you? Of course not! Good furniture arrangement encourages socializing by bringing the seating together in conversation areas. Anchor the seating around an area rug to up the warmth and comfort. Make sure each chair has access to the coffee table or its own side table, so a guest can put down his or her drink. Small stools or ottomans can be moved easily into the conversation area, so everyone has a seat and a say in the discussion.

3. Seasonalize the nest: With the cold winter months upon us, there is no better feeling than the warmth and glow of a comfortable home. Gather your guests around the fireplace, which is ready with fireplace tools and ample firewood. Bring the outside in with bowls of pinecones and vases of holly branches. Drape throws on the sofa and chairs.

4.  Soften your lighting:  Dimmers are a low cost, easy way to bring drama and coziness to a space. Put all of your lights on dimmers and add candles for a little bit of romance. Everyone looks better in low light. Keep the candles scent free. Heavy perfumes irritate some people and interfere with the taste of food.

5. Make it festive: Ornaments aren't just for trees! Buy inexpensive bulb ornaments in colors that complement your color scheme and put them in bowls. Why should your living room be the only room in the house with a beautifully lit holiday tree? I have a small, artificial tree in the entry hall and one in the family room. As much as I love the large, real tree in our living room, those two small trees bring a festive holiday mood into all areas of the house. In addition to playing holiday music, run your favorite holiday movies on your TVs with the sound down. Everyone loves seeing these classic holiday films. 

Bonus tip: Once you've made your home party ready, sit back, relax and enjoy your loved ones. As cancer survivors, we have a lot to be grateful for and the love we share with our family and friends is at the top of the list. Happy Holidays!  

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