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Ready or Not, Here They Come! 20 Tips for Helping Holiday Guests Feel at Home.

Perry Como first sang the tune, Home for the Holidays, back in 1954. Since that time, recording artists including The Carpenters, Garth Brooks, Barry Manilow, Cyndi Lauper and Norah Jones have serenaded us as we await loved ones returning home for the holidays.  Television celebrates reunions by showing wreath decorated doors opening to loved ones in snow-covered scenes with guests bearing gifts for all. Friends gather around the holiday table for a feast befitting a king. A beautifully decorated Christmas tree completes the scene of the most magical holiday season.

What television doesn’t show us is all the preparation, stress, and worry involved in creating those perfect holiday scenes. Yes, its a labor of love…but it’s still labor. Making those guests feel comfortable and at home can be challenging. Here are 20 tips to ensure that overnight guests feel comfortable and welcome in your home.Create a relaxing environment by providing a personal space for guests that feels safe, secure, and aesthetically pleasing.

  1. Provide guests with fresh, soft, clean sheets that invite a good nights sleep.
  2. Provide extra bedding such as quilts, blankets, extra pillows, etc. so that the bed can be as plush or bare as your guests prefer.
  3. Avoid heavy perfumed laundry detergent and dryer sheets.  Some holiday noses will be sensitive to scent.
  4. Provide a chair, table or luggage rack for ease of using suitcases and totes while visiting.
  5.  Provide a night-light in both the bedroom and bathroom.  When guests are traveling, waking up in a strange place in the dark can be a little unsettling.
  6. Provide a small fan in the bedroom. With winter heating systems, air can sometimes feel dry and stifling. Fans can also provide ambient noise when guests prefer to leave the party and retire to bed early.
  7. Place a single flower in a vase or a green plant on the bedside table.  That extra touch can mean so much.  I have a friend whose children always picked a flower from the garden to put on the bedside table when I arrived.  I felt the love and always appreciated that simple gesture.  (Sadie and Ella, thank you.)
  8. Place a bottle of water or a glass on the beside table.
  9. Provide TV instructions and the wifi passcode so that guests can have some “me” time.
  10. Instruct children (and adults) to respect guests when they retire to their space.  Every guest should have the opportunity to “get away” for time to themselves.
  11. Provide a new toothbrush and travel size toothpaste for every guest.  Traveling can be stressful and it is easy to forget to bring the necessities.
  12. Provide individual bars of soap or new shower gel to guests. As Oprah once famously said, “Nobody wants to bathe with used soap.” (paraphrased)
  13. Have towels laid out on the counter, dresser, or bed so that guests have them readily available for use
  14. Provide extra toilet paper in an easily accessible place and check often to replace rolls during the guests’ stay.
  15. Check with guests to determine if they prefer coffee, tea, juice or other beverages as they arise in the morning. Be sure to ask about creamer, sugar, lemon, etc.
  16. Find out about dietary concerns before guests arrive.  Be considerate of allergies and preferences.
  17. Give guests permission to “feel at home”.  The refrigerator, snacks, outside spaces, etc. should be accessible and welcoming to guests.
  18. Don’t forget to tell guests about alarm systems!  Nothing is worse than needing a little fresh air at 4am and blasting the neighborhood because nobody bothered to tell you that an alarm would be set.
  19.  Smile, relax, and enjoy those special guests.  After all…

  Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays,
‘Cause no matter how far away you roam,
When you pine for the sunshine of a friendly gaze,
For the holidays, you can’t beat home, sweet home.

(Songwriter: Al Stillman)


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