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…
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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.
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.
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.
Special Things You Can Do
- Add a screen for privacy if you don’t have a separate guest room.
- Provide plenty of pillows or blanket options, if you have them (and don’t be offended if they bring their own!)
- 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?)
- Include a chair or bench where guests can set their luggage.
- Have leftover toiletries from travels of your own? How nice to set them out in the bathroom!
- If you have WiFi, take the time to print the password on a card for easy access.
- Have plenty of towels, handtowels, and extra toilet paper stocked in the bathroom.
- Have a small TV tray or nightstand? It sure helps to have something beside the bed.
- A nightlight or small flashlight might come in handy during the night.
- Complete all of your own laundry before guests arrive, in case they’d like to do some laundry too.
- Remove loud clocks and fix leaky faucets; those are the kinds of sounds that keep a guest awake in the middle of the night!
- Get an extra house key copied for your guests.
- 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?