‘Tis the season for celebrations, and my favorite time of year to entertain! Our calendars are full of events from Thanksgiving to New Years, with friendsgiving, cookies swaps, gift exchanges, and holiday parties in between. I like to get prepared for the season with a few timeless tips that help me entertain effortlessly all season long. I have been relying on lots of the ideas in Better Homes & Gardens Holiday Entertaining Guide and am sharing a few more of my best tips here today:Do a pre-season clean out. At the beginning of the holiday season I like to do a whole-house clean to get ready for entertaining. Then each time we have guests over I just have to tidy and fresh rooms up. A few areas I pay special attention to: making space in coat closets or entryways for guest’s coats, adding some seasonal towels and candles to the powder room, and changing out the guest bedroom linens for cooler weather.

 Lean on make-ahead recipes. I like to do as much prep-work as I can before guests arrive so that I have more time to spend entertaining and less time in the kitchen. One way I do that is by selecting a few recipes that can be assembled in advance! For holiday brunches a sweet French toast casserole, or a savory Italian strata breakfast casserole are my favorites for entertaining guests. I prep the dishes the night before with crusty bread, Eggland’s Best eggs, and seasonal flavors, and they’re ready to bake in the morning for delicious homemade breakfast!

Stock the fridge for surprise guests. With a busy holiday entertaining season ahead, I keep a few staples in my pantry and fridge to be prepared for pop-in guests and last minute celebrations. Cheese, crackers, nuts, and some sparkling water are always on hand in my kitchen during these months. I also keep Daisy Sour Cream and some veggies in the fridge for a quick-to-assemble crudité. Just mix your favorite herbs and spices for a tasty dip!

Pick a holiday color scheme. The weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years can fly by so fast and I don’t like to spend a ton of time switching out seasonal décor. Pick one color scheme that you can carry throughout the season and use it to make your home look festive throughout all of the holiday celebrations. My brightly colored jewel-tone Christmas directions can transition from the warm colors of a Thanksgiving table through New Years with the addition of some metallic accents.

Find your signature drink. Instead of stocking a full-bar all season long, focus on finding your favorite holiday signature drink and keep the ingredients on hand for entertaining guests at home. I like to start with a homemade simple syrup with wintry flavors like cranberry, rosemary, pomegranate or cinnamon. Play around with different combinations and keep a batch on your bar to mix in with bubbly wine or water when guests stop by!

Please note: This was post was created in partnership with Better Homes & Gardens. All opinions, images and content are my own