It’s the time of the year when we open our homes to dear friends and cherished family to help us celebrate the holiday season. Whether they’re visiting from a neighboring town or have traveled long distances, we want them to feel comfortable. All it takes is a little pre-planning and adding just the right touches to make them feel right at home.
Keep It Simple
Nothing is more stressful than arriving after a long trip to find that you’re basically on your own. Your host leads you to a room full of boxes with no bed in sight. You end up spending the first few hours of your visit running to the store to buy an air mattress and scouring the house for stray bedding and towels.
Avoid putting your guests through this unfortunate scenario by carving out an inviting, designated space for them. It can be a spare bedroom, the kid’s room, a sofa bed in the living room or a futon in a cozy corner of the basement. Gather all the must-have supplies together, make the bed and give your guests the warm welcome they deserve.
Clear Things Out
De-clutter the space by storing unused items in lidded plastic bins labeled with their contents. Tuck the bins away in another room or closet. Speaking of closets, be sure to provide ample closet space for guests to hang their clothes. Purchase a luggage rack to make for easy suitcase access. Over the door hooks give guests a place to hang pajamas. Offer up an empty dresser drawer or two for folded clothing. Leave surfaces clear for personal belongings and cosmetics.
Be the Guest
Put yourself in your guest’s shoes. Spend a little time in the space to ensure everything is in tip-top shape. Check for burned out light bulbs. Vacuum and spot clean the carpet. Dust the blinds and furniture. Wash seldom used bedding. Clear out dust bunnies from under the bed and sweep away cobwebs on the ceiling. Seal air leaks around windows. Test the television and remote. Give the guest bathroom a good cleaning.
Include Linens and Essentials
Your guests will sleep like proverbial babes if you dress their bed in comfy linens. If you can’t afford genuine down, look for a mid-weight down alternative comforter. Keep the comforter clean by using a duvet cover. Choose wrinkle-resistant sheets in cotton jersey or a cotton-poly blend. A spare blanket at the foot of the bed will keep the chill away on extra cold nights.
Choose medium loft pillows that will suit stomach, back or side sleepers. It is tempting to buy the cheapest pillows possible for the guest room, but you’ll find yourself replacing them more often. Purchase a pillow a step or two up on the price scale. It will last longer and won’t give your guests a stiff neck.
Supply your guests with freshly laundered towels and washcloths. Place a new roll of toilet paper on the holder and store a few extra rolls in the guest bath. A box of tissues bedside and in the bathroom should be sufficient for the duration of their stay.
Give a Gift
A basket of basic toiletries will make your guests feel special and fill in the gap of items they may have forgotten. Sample size soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste and mouthwash arranged neatly in a pretty basket along with bath oil, body lotion and a scented candle make for a thoughtful gift.
Keep Them Occupied
If you have to work while your guests are visiting, give them a spare set of house keys to allow them to come and go as they please. Compile a list of handy information like your home’s address, nearby cross streets, your work and cell numbers, the security alarm code and emergency contact numbers.
Along with a general information list, jot down local activities, holiday events and attractions so your guests have plenty to do. Throw in a city map, transportation schedules and brochures to help them find their way around.
Add These Extras
Don’t forget to include an alarm clock to accommodate early morning plans. A carafe of water, fruit and individual packaged snacks will cut down on nighttime excursions to the kitchen. Plug in a nightlight to guide their way to the bathroom. Offer your guests current magazines to peruse during down time and provide them with adequate reading light.
Reduce weekday morning chaos by serving visitors a pastry and coffee in the comfort of their own quarters. That way, they can begin the day at their own pace and avoid the rush while your family members get ready for the day.
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