I’m not sure which is more stressful: having houseguests for the holidays or being a houseguest for the holidays! Even if you have the happiest and most well-adjusted family, it can feel a little awkward occupying someone else’s personal space during what must be the busiest time of the year. So I always try to keep that in mind when I’m preparing for my own houseguests. My goal is to give my guests—even if they’re “just family”—the feeling that they have a comfortable retreat in my home. The good news is that there are some simple ways to go that extra mile for your guests without adding too much to your already-busy holiday schedule!
Bring Out the Best
One of the hardest things about leaving home is not getting to sleep in your own bed, so make sure your guests have a bed they’ll look forward to crawling into every night. Stock up on a few sets of high-end bed linens throughout the year and set them aside to use only when guests come to town. (Hint: Tuesday Morning has amazing prices every day on luxury linens from Sferra* and Peacock Alley*!) Take the same approach with your guest towels. I keep a separate set of soft, fluffy towels for guests only. Choose solid white towels to create a hotel-like experience!
Lighten Their Load
Provide bath and body amenities so your guests don’t have to pack their own (but be sure to let them know in advance!). Especially for short-term visitors, a bottle each of shampoo and conditioner may mean the difference between having to check luggage or getting to carry on a bag. Here’s a tip: Bring home some extra, unopened amenities from your next hotel visit to save for future guests!
Provide the Tools to Unwind
Put a few current magazines, your favorite book (something light and fun—nothing too serious!), and/or a collection of crossword or Sudoku puzzles in the guest room to give your visitors a nice distraction in the evenings or during their downtime, especially if your guest room does not have a TV.
Cure the Snack Attack
Put together a little basket of snacks for your guest’s room so they can have a guilt-free treat when they want. A good snack basket will have an assortment of sweet, salty, and savory snacks, along with a couple of pieces of sturdy fruit (oranges and apples). A large water bottle, glass carafe, and glass tumbler are a welcome touch as well.
To create the ultimate guest retreat, try any of these extra touches:
- Put a few local-themed, pre-stamped postcards and some pretty stationery in your guest’s room.
- Provide a luggage rack (or two!).
- Create a coffee/tea bar on a small side table: all you need is an electric kettle; a couple of insulated to-go cups; and a small basket with a selection of instant coffee packets, tea bags, sweeteners, and individual coffee creamers.
- Decorate your guest room for the season—but don’t go overboard. A simple evergreen wreath on the door, some cheerful decorative pillows on the bed, or a small floral arrangement on a dresser are good ideas.
- Leave a small, handwritten welcome note on the guest bed to let your visitors know how happy you are to have them!
Here’s an example of a simple basket you can put together for holiday houseguests using some of my favorite Tuesday Morning finds! I’ve got a set of Peacock Alley* bath linens (now discontinued); they’re not my usual hotel white, but the color is a lovely and sophisticated neutral, and I couldn’t pass up their softness and texture. I added Lila Grace bath amenities (shower gel, bath crystals, and body butter) in a sure-to-please vanilla rose scent to give guests a spa-like experience. I couldn’t believe the great selection of gourmet goodies at my Tuesday Morning…I was able to find plenty of sweet and salty snacks to include in my basket here. I made sure to put some reading material in as well. And I packed it all nicely in this pretty little “suitcase.”
Now I’m ready for holiday visitors! Well, after I finish cleaning the house. So tell me: what are your favorite tips for getting ready for houseguests?