Tips for Welcoming Holiday House Guests

Hostess Hints

‘Tis the season for holiday house guests, and at our house we are in full preparation mode for our upcoming guests. We love having family and friends come and visit, but with 6 kids aged 10 and under, it takes a little bit of work to get us ready! This year we’re having almost all our family come to visit. My sister and her kids will be staying with us, and then we’ll be hosting a couple of lunches for the entire group of about 50 people.

One of things I love most about having company is that it gives us a deadline to get stuff done that we’ve been putting off. Last week-end, we replenished our silverware, because over the years we’d lost a few forks and knives, and sometimes we’ve had to use the kids’ plastic ones! We’re also hanging some new family photos and getting our carpets cleaned.

Like most things, the key to stress free company is being prepared. The other important thing is to make sure your guests are comfortable. When I’m hosting my sister it’s a little more relaxed than hosting my in-laws, but I always want everyone to have a great time.

So, here are my hints for making your guests feel at home while they’re staying with you:

  1. Leave extra blankets and towels in their room. Lots of times you need a blanket in the middle of the night, and you don’t want to go searching the house, or worse yet, freezing.
  2. Make room. For a long time we had a dedicated guest room, but since the arrival of baby 6, all the rooms are taken. For our company next week, we’ll move kids around so my sister can stay in the room with the queen bed. We’ll clear out some space in the closet and make sure there’s room for her things. Even if your guests are sleeping on the living room floor, you can still make sure they’ve got some space for their stuff.
  3. Make sure they have codes and keys. If your guests are staying for a few days, they’ll probably be off on their own sometimes, so make sure they have a house key, and the code to your alarm. We’ve forgotten to give the alarm code on a couple of occasions, and been woken up by the siren, or received a call from the alarm company. Don’t forget to write down the code for your wireless access.
  4. Think of things that you might forget when you travel, and then stock them. I like to make sure there’s shampoo, a fresh bar of soap, toothpaste, a hair dryer, sunscreen, etc…
  5. Keep the plunger in the bathroom your guests will use. No one likes to talk about this, but heaven forbid a your guest needs the plunger in the middle of the night, they don’t want to wake you up to find out where it’s stored. Save everyone the embarrassment and just keep it in the guest bathroom! I’m not saying you’d necessarily need the plunger, but with all the kids we have running around, clogged toilets are fairly common!
  6. Have plans but not expectations. I like to have a list of things that my guests might want to do, but I don’t want them to feel like they have to do anything. I do some research to find out what’s going on around town, and I present the options, but if people just want to sit around and chat, I’m totally fine with that.
  7. Check with your guests ahead of time to see what kinds of foods they like to eat. With a lot of young cousins coming to stay, we want to make sure that they have a bit of their routine from home. So, if there’s a cereal they eat every morning, or a bedtime snack they like, then I want to make sure it’s here for them.
  8. Be relaxed. This is the most important thing. Things might break, it might rain all week-end, someone might even throw up on the rug, but none of that should ruin a visit with people you love. Once your guests arrive, enjoy their company!

What things do you like to do for house guests …. or do you just send visitors to a hotel?!


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One Response to Tips for Welcoming Holiday House Guests

  1. Lindsay
    Lindsay December 23, 2013 at 9:12 am #

    These are fantastic tips, Sarah! I want to come stay at your house this Christmas!