'Tis the season to get the home ready for holiday entertaining

(BPT) - As the year winds down, social calendars fill up with merriment-filled gatherings among friends and family. When hosting a seasonal gathering at home, being proactive can help streamline tasks and reduce stress. From whipping up a feast to toasting in the New Year, here are five ideas for getting the heart of the home — the kitchen and dining spaces — ready for holiday entertaining.

Simplify measurements

Chopped veggies and pre-measured ingredients can streamline any cooking adventure and save precious time. Fill the fridge and pantry with ready-to-go items as much as possible and consider smart kitchen enhancements that make measuring a breeze. For example, the Beale MeasureFill touch kitchen faucet from American Standard provides an adjustable set amount of water on demand, giving holiday cooks the precise measurement faster than using conventional measuring cups. Plus, the easy touch on/off feature is ideal when hands are full or dirty; to operate, just touch it with the wrist or the back of the hand.

Prepare meal necessities

To create a holiday table worthy of a magazine spread, prepare all the plates, platters and servingware needed beforehand. This is a good time to take stock of place settings, too. (Important tip: Have an extra setting or two available for last-minute RSVPs or unexpected guests.) Whether it's a buffet-style meal or multi-course sit-down dinner, make sure to have enough serving utensils for everything on the menu, from appetizers to desserts.

Stock all washing spaces

Baking, cooking and entertaining tasks generate dirty dishes for days, so get wash spaces ready with fresh sponges, plenty of soap, drying racks and towels. Rotate between washing and cooking to eliminate a big mess at the end of entertaining. To ease the task of hand-washing large dishes, consider installing a sizable sink that also updates the kitchen’s style. The handcrafted Pekoe apron-front kitchen sink from American Standard has a generously-sized single basin to accommodate large pots and pans; plus, the 18-gauge stainless steel material is stain-, heat- and chip-resistant.

Create clean, comfortable spaces

Clear clutter from common spaces where guests will be congregating for refreshments, meals and more. Focus on the dining room where guests will toast to a merry holiday, but don't forget the kitchen for visitors who might want to pitch in or provide good cheer and holiday conversation during last-minute meal preparations. Add extra chairs and seating as well as leaves to extend tables so there's plenty of room for everyone and all the delicious foods that will be served. The goal is for people to feel comfortably cozy without being overcrowded.

Manage multitasking

Multitasking is a must for big entertaining events. While appetizers are in the oven, wash a few dishes. When the main course is simmering, mingle with guests. To maximize time in the kitchen, think about enhancements that allow multitasking with ease, such as the K7 semi-professional faucet with foot control technology from GROHE. Busy or dirty hands? No problem. Turn the water flow on and off with a tap of the foot on an activation plate installed discreetly in the toe space of the kitchen cabinet. This allows more to get done easily, while helping prevent the spread of germs.

Holiday entertaining is simplified with a few modern home updates and smart cooking tricks. By focusing on the heart of the home, everyone will have a joyous season — especially the host or hostess.

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