It's the holiday season - the most joyful time of the year, right? Unfortunately, it can also become one of the most stressful times of the year, especially if you are hosting out of town house guests over the holidays. Having guests in your home is never completely smooth sailing, but I have compiled some tips to help you prepare, de-stress, and hopefully still be able to enjoy your holidays while you host!
1. Making guest rooms comfortable. One thing I've gotten into the habit of doing over the years of hosting house guests is making up a simple "welcome basket" for my guests. I know this makes me sound like Martha Stewart (ha!), but I promise it's easy and everyone can do it! I put a basket in the guest room with their towels (always include a few extra so they don't have to ask), some bottled water, a chocolate bar or some other type of treat, and a pretty bar of soap. Plug in some nightlights in the areas your guests will be staying in at night, or set a flashlight on their nightstand. Write a little notecard and leave it in their welcome basket with your wifi network name and password. And leave a few extra blankets in their room in case they get cold during the night. OK, guest room sorted - moving on!
2. Feeding your guests. Deep breath - I know this can be a stressful one! It's a smart idea to ask in advance if any of your guests have food allergies or intolerances. If so, try to prepare with acceptable alternatives - buying some coconut milk creamer can make your lactose intolerant guest feel welcome and allow them to still drink their coffee in the morning (nobody needs coffee-deprived house guests - eek!)! Another great idea is to have some easy snacks within reach at all times - think a bowl of mandarins on the table (which - bonus - can double as a pretty centerpiece) or a glass jar of pretzels on the counter. OK, now the important part: set up your coffee station for self-service! Set up your coffee maker before you go to bed, that way if guests rise early all they have to do is press "brew" - they should be able to handle that! Set out some mugs, spoons, and sugar, and show guests where the creamer is in the refrigerator. Also place your teapot out on the stove and set out a selection of tea bags for those non-coffee people. I promise this will make your life so much easier and will save you from pouring endless cups of hot drinks for everyone. If you have some major coffee guzzlers as guests, you can take it one step further - brew a pot and put it into a carafe (it keeps coffee hot for hours), then brew another pot so you aren't in danger of running out. For meals you are eating at home, try to keep things simple and make as much of the food in advance as you can. Accept guests' offers to help with dishes or to make part of a meal - many times this can help them to feel useful, and it alleviates some of the pressure on you at the same time!
3. It's all in the details. Just a few more tips, and you'll be on your way to a stress-free hosting experience! Three important words: extra toilet paper. And make sure it's in an obvious, easily accessible place so guests don't have to awkwardly ask. Leave your guests with an extra set of house keys so they can come and go as they need to. Finally, my last piece of advice is to try to stick to some part of your own routine so you don't feel too depleted during their visit. If you have a late night yoga class scheduled, go to it and leave your partner and kids home to entertain your guests. Don't give up your usual nightly 30 minutes of reading before bed - excuse yourself and head to bed so you can decompress. Sticking to these important little parts of your normal routine can help you de-stress, regroup, and allow you to enjoy your guests rather than counting down the minutes until they hit the road!
Always remember, I am here for you! If you have questions or need help with anything, I am just a phone call, text, or email away. Let's chat!