Other than the dining table, your living room is where most of the action will occur during holiday hosting. Make sure all toys, exercise equipment, errant shoes and anything else lying around on the floor is moved out of sight before guests arrive. The coffee table should also be cleared off, and any clutter replaced with a few simple coasters.
Adding seasonal decorative touches doesn't have to cost much. Fill a glass bowl with miniature pumpkins or apples and display on the mantel. Or place lightly scented candles (pine, cinnamon or nutmeg) on various surfaces, string twinkle lights along the banister for a festive ambiance and bring some of the outside in with large bowls of pine cones and ribbons of birch bark.
Depending on the types of guests, conversation cards can be a good way to break the ice. You can buy them or make your own (print topics of interest to inspire discussion on nice cardstock) and leave them on the coffee table or dining room table.
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