Postcards & Passports

How to Prepare for Holiday Guests

This post was most recently updated on July 23rd, 2020

Expecting guests for the holidays? Perhaps you’re used to being the one who does the traveling, but this year, guests are coming to you! Just how do you turn your modest home into a holiday refuge for your friends or family? Read more to learn how to prepare for holiday guests…

This article may contain Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of these links, I will receive a small commission, but it will not affect your price.

Think like a guest

If you were staying in the perfect getaway, what would make it perfect? A comfortable bed, lots of pillows, a bedside lamp, handtowels and soaps, a good mirror, a vase of flowers, basket of magazines, cups, mints, maybe even a few chocolates? So, put together something for your guests; help them feel welcome and special. Feel free to personalize to their interests, too. If you know they’re going to be visiting tourist sites, leave brochures and information in their room. If they like to sleep in late, use room-darkening curtains. (Or line the windows with cardboard). Try sleeping in your guest room before they arrive–what can you do to make it more accommodating for them? If you need help thinking of what to offer, you might want to check out this article: “Where Will You Stay on Your Next Holiday? Or this article with guestroom decorating tips.


Be Flexible

Sometimes when you have guests coming, you try to plan everything ahead of time, right down to the minutia of itinerary and details of every meal. You pack your refrigerator with every kind of food imaginable to be sure you have something for everyone, and then your guests arrive with a cooler full of food they’ve brought with them! OOPS — there’s no room! I think most guests appreciate being thought of so diligently, but do be sure to be flexible. Guests will certainly have their own feelings about what they want to do and when. It doesn’t hurt to have a few things prepared — a light meal option in case they haven’t eaten yet when they arrive…an idea or two of something to do. But ideally, your guest will let you know soon upon arriving (if not beforehand) what their plans are. Or maybe they’re the type that prefer to “go with the flow”; they might not want to be tied down to any schedule at all. So just be flexible, and know that most guests don’t expect you to keep them entertained 24/7.

Be Yourself

Don’t act like a butler who is waiting constantly for a cue. Unless you have made specific plans with your guests, go about your regular daily activities, inviting guests to join in when appropriate, and letting them keep to themselves when they prefer. Sometimes you will have plans you just can’t get out of: practices, work meetings, errands, etc. Besides, it will drive you crazy if you cancel everything, just to learn your guests prefer to sit home quietly and enjoy the peace.


photo: jflechas

Special Things You Can Do

  1. Add a screen for privacy if you don’t have a separate guest room.
  2. Provide plenty of pillows or blanket options, if you have them (and don’t be offended if they bring their own!)
  3. Use air fresheners or Febreze (We are used to the smell of our own home, but perhaps it smells a little stale to someone else?)
  4. Include a chair or bench where guests can set their luggage.
  5. Have leftover toiletries from travels of your own? How nice to set them out in the bathroom!

    How to prepare for holiday guests

    photo by alexiajacquet69

  6. If you have WiFi, take the time to print the password on a card for easy access.
  7. Have plenty of towels, handtowels, and extra toilet paper stocked in the bathroom.How to prepare for holiday guests
  8. Have a small TV tray or nightstand? It sure helps to have something beside the bed.
  9. A nightlight or small flashlight might come in handy during the night.
  10. How to prepare for holiday guestsComplete all of your own laundry before guests arrive, in case they’d like to do some laundry too.
  11. Remove loud clocks and fix leaky faucets; those are the kinds of sounds that keep a guest awake in the middle of the night!
  12. Get an extra house key copied for your guests.
  13. Go ahead and decorate for the holidays. Light a fire in the fireplace. Heat some spices or bake homemade cookies for that wonderful aroma! Do what you can do make your house feel like a home to everyone who enters it!

What do you do to make your holiday guests feel more welcome?

pin for entertaining guests


13 thoughts on “How to Prepare for Holiday Guests

  1. Pingback: #WeekendInspirations

  2. Nancy

    All I can say is I would Love to stay with you! Sounds like a total pampering which is just what you need during this time of year! Great post!

  3. Vicki Louise

    Thanks for the tips – like Nancy, I would love to stay with you. When my family visit they get towels, a fully stocked fridge, free reign of the house & garden and wifi! Oh and they get to play with our adorable puppy (or more like he doesn’t give them a choice!)

  4. Angela

    Wow, I think you’ve thought of everything! The Wi-Fi password on a card is a good one because it’s usually something you’d never remember and everyone usually uses it!

  5. corinne

    This is exactly the list I’ve been looking for. We always have guests and I don’t want them to feel like they aren’t thought of beforehand. Great article.

  6. Vyjay

    These are all great tips. The best, of course, is to think like a guest. It helps one to get things right. Also, guests are a great opportunity to get the house all spruced up, something one generally dilly dallies. 🙂

Make my day and leave a comment!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.