3 ways to create a welcoming guest experience over the holidays

Hosting overnight guests at your home during the holidays can be wonderful, enriching and, sometimes, a little bit stressful. Here are three ways you can keep stress at bay and help ensure your guests enjoy a welcoming experience at your home.


Prepare the Guest Room

Help your guests feel like they’re home by making their guest room as inviting as possible. Aside from making sure the room is clean, set out some essential items they may have forgotten — fluffy towels, spare toothbrushes, a new loofah or nice-smelling soaps. These are things that guests need, but often don’t like asking for. The travel section in Walmart or other grocery stores is a great place to find inexpensive versions of these items. You can also add a few non-essential things to the room to give it that lived-in feeling without making it feel cluttered, like interesting books to read on the bed-side table, fresh flowers in an attractive vase or a charging station for their devices.

If your guests are elderly or they have young children, you can make some small adjustments to the room to help them feel more comfortable. Most elderly guests will appreciate having a room on the ground floor, as far removed as possible from noisy areas in the house. When preparing a guest room for children, place a few stuffed animals on the bed or picture books on the bedside table, and make sure some board games are within easy access. These little touches can give the guest room the feeling of home.


Prepare the House

Once you’ve sorted out the guest room, it’s time to take on the rest of the house. Oftentimes before guests arrive, hosts like to deep clean their homes, get rid of unsightly carpet stains or de-clutter the kitchen counter. This much cleaning can take a long time, especially if you try to do it all on your own. We found a great guide on how to clean your house over the course of seven days, breaking down the cleaning process into manageable chunks. The guide recommends taking a day before you even begin cleaning to do a walk-through of your house, looking at all the details from a guest’s point of view, and then making a checklist of things to clean as you go. After you’re done making the list, sit down with your family and make a plan to divide the work between everyone over the course of the following six days. As the phrase goes, “many hands make light work,” so don’t try to go it alone. Click here for the rest of this free guide: http://www.bhg.com/christmas/parties/holiday-housecleaning-tips/

You can make cleaning go even faster by spending a few minutes to research the easiest and most efficient ways to clean different items. How to Clean Anything (http://www.howtocleananything.com/) is a great resource for cleaning ideas. For example, say you want to remove all the dust that is caked on your ceiling fan. The guide recommends taking an old pillowcase, sliding the fan blade inside, and then pulling the pillowcase off, trapping all the dust inside the pillowcase. And voila! A clean ceiling fan, without dust flying everywhere.

 

Prepare Yourself

Once the guest room is set up and the house is clean, there’s one last thing to get ready for guests — yourself. Sometimes the holidays can leave you feeling a little frazzled, with all the cleaning, shopping and parties to attend. As being frazzled makes hosting more of a chore than a joy, we suggest three ways to prevent holiday burnout.

First, hold on to your daily rituals. We manage our stress normally with calming and coping routines — that early morning run, the daily cup of coffee, the hour of reading before bed. When the holidays come, it’s easy to let go of the things that keep you calm. By making a conscious effort to maintain those rituals, you’ll have the moments of calm you need to be a relaxed and enjoyable host.

Second, schedule a break. You know the holidays will be busy, so schedule a little R&R time in advance. Take some time at the beginning of December to schedule a day, an afternoon or even an hour in the middle of the holidays to do something that revitalizes you. You could take a long drive or stroll around your neighborhood to see the Christmas lights or simply snuggle up on the couch to read a new book. It will be tempting to let other things encroach on that time —don’t let them! You need to take care of you before you can take care of your guests.

Lastly, learn how to ask for, or accept help, even from your guests. Overnight guests often feel awkward not helping if they see you hustling frantically around to get everything done. One way you could share the workload is to ask overnight guests in advance if they wouldn’t mind taking care of one of the meals during their stay, or allow them to do the dishes one night.

By preparing an inviting guest room, making a balanced house cleaning schedule and planning out ways to take care of your emotional and physical well-being, you’ll have the keys you need to help you and your guests enjoy their stay at your home over the holidays.

 

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