Christmas is such a wonderful time of year with lots of special occasions and get-togethers. If you have friends and family coming with their overnight bags, prepare your home ahead of time so it's a relaxed and stress-free visit for everyone. The house cleaning experts at MOLLY MAID provide these cleaning tips to help make your home shine for your guests (and yourself).

First Impressions: Use a damp cloth to wipe away dirt and brighten up a dull front door with a decorative wreath. Also, be sure there is adequate outdoor lighting to help guide any guests up the path.

Clear the Halls:The hallway and stairs can become a dumping ground for damp coats and outdoor shoes. Keep the area clutter-free by providing coat hooks and a shoe mat/rack. For the holidays, replace any worn doormats too. It looks welcoming and helps to protect your carpets throughout the house from dirty footprints.

Set the Scene: Welcome guests into a beautifully presented living room. Soft throw blankets and pretty cushions provide an instant update for your sofa while bean bags are great portable seating for younger visitors. Remember to prevent marks and spillages by putting coasters out to protect surfaces from cups of tea and glasses of champagne. Flowers will add a delicate fragrance and an instant lift to the room – try a festive flower such as hyacinths or a Christmas rose.

Let it Glow: No matter what the weather, candlelight will bring a warm glow to your home. Place tall tapered candles on the dining table, put tea lights in coloured holders on the mantle place and shelves, and arrange decorative candles in guest rooms. The interior design rule is that odd numbers look better than even… so arrange candles in groups of three or five and make sure you have a replacement stock for when they burn out. Choose non-drip candles so that you don't have to clean up dripped wax and introduce a spice scented option to add to the festive atmosphere. Never leave a candle unattended and be sure to supervise pets and children around candles at all times.

Silent Night: Make up beds for overnight guests ahead of time and be sure to provide space and hangers for their clothes. To make guests feel really welcome leave a Christmas treat on their pillow for them as well, but close the door to protect everything from children and pets! If you have more guests than beds consider buying an inflatable mattress that can be inflated in seconds and packed away and stored easily.

Bathroom Glitz: Thoroughly clean the bathroom before overnight guests arrive. Put personal items in the cupboard and tidy all lotions and soap on the countertop – if you've run out of storage space consider a wicker basket, which always looks nice. When the room is gleaming and clutter-free, put out a fresh bar of soap, towels, shower gel and shampoo. For the perfect finish choose colour co-ordinated products. And don't forget to leave a good supply of toilet paper too!

Add Sparkle: Check your supplies of essential cleaning products and make sure you have sufficient dish soap, dishwasher tablets and carpet shampoo. Allocate specific responsibilities – such as loading the dishwasher, vacuuming the carpet and sorting the laundry – to different members of the family so that you don't end up doing everything yourself.

Of course, if you just haven't got the time and need a helping hand, MOLLY MAID can help make your home sparkle from top to bottom and give you the valuable gift of time.