The holidays are usually hectic and can get stressful, so planning is essential. Here’s how you can make guests feel welcome in your home this holiday season.
Still doing things virtually? I don’t blame you. Check out my tips on how you can host an awesome virtual happy hour instead!
Depending on who the guests are, it may be easier or a little more strained. If you live in a small space, it is even more important to plan. I have compiled a list of tips to help you and your guests enjoy the holidays together!
Tips To Make Guests Feel Welcome During The Holidays
It is important to know when your guests will arrive. If they are coming from the airport, see if you can help with the pickup. Depending on trip duration, they might want to take a quick shower and nap when they arrive.
Perhaps they need a light snack or meal. You do not have to have every minute planned. However, the first few hours of making sure everyone is comfortable sets the tone for a visit. It also is a good time to set the tone for where they can locate the essentials in your home.
Review where they will be sleeping and what there is to eat and drink. The more self-sufficient they can be, the easier it is on everyone.
It is always good to have a few things ready to make their stay more enjoyable for all of you. I make a list and check it off as I prepare for them to arrive.
Your guests truly do appreciate the effort you put out to make their stay comfortable. Especially if you have additional toiletries, these include towels, soap or shower gel, blankets, pillows, and many other items you normally need on trips. Get creative with the essentials, and your guests will be surprised!
Hand sanitizer is also a must! The holidays are busy, with many people coming and going from shopping centers, crowded restaurants, churches, and Christmas activities. You want to be sure that everyone’s safe and using the proper precautions!
While your guests may not be eating every meal at your home, I’d stock the fridge with the basics, breakfasts, and some snacks.
Making meals ahead of time is always helpful, especially if you will be working while your guests are visiting. Dishes like lasagna, bbq, shredded chicken for fajitas are easy to make ahead and freeze. Here are 20 Slow Cooker Recipes For Fall for you to check out.
Also, it is acceptable to suggest a night to eat out at a favorite restaurant or order delivery.
Baking during the holiday season is a must! I always like to have homemade or store-bought cookies available for snacking. If you are not a baker, stop at the local market and pick up some holiday goodies. If your guests like to bake maybe, you can plan an afternoon of cookie making.
For breakfast, it’s probably the most predictable meal of the day. I would suggest offering coffee, tea, baked goods, pastry, and cereal as a minimum.
If you have guests with a special diet or allergies, discuss it with them before they arrive. You can offer to go shopping with the individual after they arrive too!
Finally, have lots of water bottles available and a hot pot of something ready for that cold winter chill.
A beverage station is a great idea for the basics like coffee, tea, water, soda, or even hot chocolate. Then later in the day, if you want to prepare for cocktails, you may rearrange the area. Think about making festive holiday cocktails as a fun evening activity with your guests. They’ll enjoy quality time with you.
You don’t need to plan every minute of every day for your guests. Let everyone settle in the first night and then discuss the plans for the next few days as a group.
Always provide an extra house key (if you can) so they can come and go as they please. Take the time and jot down a few of your favorite places to go so they can explore. There is also nothing wrong with a night of board games, easy reading, or a walk to enjoy Christmas lights.
Remember to take care of yourself while your guests are visiting. A stressed-out host/hostess does not make an enjoyable time for anyone.
If you think you can hide your stress from your guests, you are probably wrong! It shows up on your face or your inability to sit down and relax. Take a hot bath and offer bath bombs to your guests. They probably would enjoy a little time also to pamper themselves.
Sometimes, guests come to stay, and people may have to sleep on the couch or an inflatable mattress. If you have a guest room, then make sure you respect their privacy.
Try to build in a cozy corner with some pillows and a blanket throw. If children are coming, make a corner of a room into a game corner or coloring area.
Prepare Whoever You Live With
I consider the group of humans you are living with for this purpose to be your tribe. I honor all groups of individuals that decide to form a family. I advise a designated mandatory meeting with your tribe a few days before your house guests arrive.
If one person is in charge of cooking or bathroom clean-up, it must be discussed before the guests arrive—plan to work together as a team, relax, and have fun together. But be prepared for a little diversion from your normal routine for a few days.
Guests can either rent a car or borrow yours (if you trust them). If they want to rent a car, they should reserve it well in advance. They can usually pick the car up at the airport too!
If they will be driving one of your cars, it is important to look at your insurance policy. If there is an accident while they are driving, does your insurance cover this? Some insurance companies will allow you to pay a small fee for temporary coverage and peace of mind. Give that car a quick car wash before they arrive, too!
Let your guests know what your schedule might look like before they arrive. If you have to work, make sure everyone knows what time you need to leave in the morning. This is essential if you only have one bathroom!
Little things go a long way to make house guests feel welcome and for you to relax. You can get a chalkboard or some messaging board to put important information on.
Be sure to provide your full address to use uber or a taxi and order take-out food. I provide a surge power extension cord for the bedroom. Stock the room with water bottles and other essential items they may need at night. This also prevents guests from rummaging through the house while you’re sleeping.
I love decorating, so having a beautiful Christmas or holiday wreath on the front door makes things festive. It may be simple, but it feels like a warm welcome to all.
By the time your guests arrive, you should be done decorating your home for the holidays. It makes sense to follow your own traditions and to decorate style before your guests arrive.
Remember to turn on the lights on your tree and any other area you utilize lights for a warm glow. I love having cinnamon or pumpkin candles lit too!
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Meal
Plan your main meal menu ahead of time and have it written down or printed out. The main part of the meal, such as a turkey or ham, is an item you should cook yourself. If your guests are local, it’s okay to ask them if they want to bring something.
The idea of presents and traditions can become so overwhelming in some families. We’re a big fan of the Yankee Swap so that everyone leaves with something.
Overall, remember that people are thankful for staying and being near family or friends. No holiday is ever perfect. However, the effort you have made to make your guests comfortable will be remembered for a long time.