Holiday Hosting Tips

In the spirit of gift giving, eggnog drinking, carol singing and dreidel spinning, the heart of the holiday season is spending quality time with family and friends. But while it can be wonderful to catch up with long-lost, friends, the constant flurry of entertaining and socializing can be stressful -- especially if one of your holiday responsibilities is hosting.

Perhaps you’ve invited your friends or relatives, who live in another town to be your guests over the coming Holiday’s. Or you have been invited to be a guest in someone else’s home. Whether you are the host or the houseguest there is a need for a delicate balancing act to perform. The hosts most important task is making their guests feel at home.

  • A bed made up with clean sheets ( I recommend sleeping in the bed for an evening before hand to make sure that the bed is comfortable, and that there are no odd disturbances )
  • An extra blanket, pillow or two
  • A good reading light with a few good books or magazines that you think your guests might enjoy
  • Clock radio and or cd player with music that you think they would enjoy, I like to have an ipod loaded with Holiday music as well as restful music to relax to at the end of a busy day.
  • Box of tissues
  • Waste basket
  • A carafe and glass and several water bottles
  • Make sure that an area of the closet has been cleared and stocked with hangers, clear out a few drawers in the room so that they can unpack.
  • Fresh towels, face towels, wash cloths and a bath mat.
  • New cakes of soap or a body wash
  • Glasses for drinking and brushing teeth
  • Extra rolls of toilet paper

That is the very basics’ of what you should provide. If you want to be an extraordinary host then as in everything in life, do the little bit “EXTRA”.

  • Put a vase of fresh flowers in the room as well as the bath
  • Wooden hangers and or plastic in the closet with a scented sachet
  • A basket or box to hold a lint roller, clothes brush, hand lotion, holiday scented bath gels, a new tooth brush, razor, headache and stomach medicines. Or anything else you might think that they will need.
  • Provide a small desk or a cleared tabletop, and stock it with pens and paper, note cards, envelopes, and stamps. Compile a list of some favorite local places -- restaurants, cafes, museums, antiques shops, movie theaters -- and provide timetables, if appropriate, for buses, ferries, or trains. A telephone in the room is a convenience, but not a necessity.

You can save yourself a lot of time and trouble if you prepare whatever you can in advance. Your meals will be the most time consuming. So prepare make ahead dishes for several meals. If you can’t make them ahead plan your menus and be sure to stock your kitchen with everything you will need. If your guests offer to help, don’t refuse their offers. Most guests sincerely want to help and might feel uncomfortable if denied the pleasure.

If your guests have children, treat them with tolerance and respect it will make everyone’s stay that much more pleasant. Plan outings for them to do, ice skating at the local rink, local plays and pageants, a trip to the local library for story time, museums, holiday movie showings or an evening of caroling. At home have things to keep them busy, don’t expect them to sit and watch TV while you catch up on old times. Plan an afternoon of cookie making, creating ornaments, drawing or painting, or just taking a long walk.  You have been an extraordinary host and now is the time to wrap it up. Of course you tell your guests how much you enjoyed their stay and that you hope they will come again soon. A polite host not only sees their guests to the door but also stands on the porch until they are out of sight, waving the occasional good-bye. If you were to leave the porch too early you would give the impression that you are eager to get back to your routine. (You probably are but in the spirit of good manners you would never admit it.)

Finally, try to relax and enjoy your visit. Accept help when it's volunteered - you don't have to do it all by yourself. No one remembers perfection, everything doesn't have to be perfect to build those long-cherished memories. Many times it's the little imperfections that nestle into the warmest spot in your heart.

Happy Holidays!


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