When friends or relatives come to visit for the holidays, make their visit a pleasurable one, by thinking ahead and offering them your gracious home.
Fruit baskets and floral arrangements are not necessary, just a bit of thoughtfulness and good planning. The following steps will walk you through what you need to know to make your next hosting experience a great one for everyone.
1. Save your Best Parking Spot
If parking in your neighborhood is limited, be sure to reserve your off-street spot for guests. Go out ahead of time and track down a convenient street spot if you need to—just don’t make your guests spend their first moments at your place looking for a spot.
2. Set a Casual Tone
Cleaning your home before guests arrive is a must; however, keeping things close to the usual state of things around the house will help put guests at ease. Newspapers on the coffee table and a casual playlist in the background will set the stage for relaxation.
3. Provide a Grab-and-Go Breakfast Station
Keep fresh fruit, breakfast cereals and other essentials together on the counter for early risers. Give guests a quick kitchen tour the night before so they can get their morning coffee or tea without waiting for you. If you want to set an extra special table, adding a monogrammed mug and a small flower arrangement is lovely and doesn’t take much effort.
4. Prep Your Front Porch
This area is the first thing guests see when visiting your home, so make sure it’s well lit, freshly swept and outfitted with clean cushions and fresh plants.
5. Stock Bedrooms and Baths with Essentials
You don’t need to be outfitted like a four-star hotel, but certain basics should be in place to make your visitor comfortable. Essentials include fresh sheets, pillows and blankets on the bed, window coverings, a working light, bath towels, a wastebasket and a cleared shelf and hanging closet area. Bonus items include a fan, iPod docking station, clock, hairdryer, snacks, mini toiletries (such as razors, aspirin and hairspray), and a surge protector for charging devices.
6. Allow for Downtime
It’s all too easy to over-plan activities for holiday guests. Having a few tentative outings or other visitors on the agenda can be helpful, but avoid the urge to fill every last minute. Most guests will really appreciate some blocks of unstructured time to relax, chat, read, nap, or even venture out on their own.
7. Give Guests a Job in the Kitchen
When dinnertime rolls around, feel free to have guests pitch in with a few simple tasks in the kitchen. Ask them to set the table, pour the wine, choose the music, prep greens for a salad and soon your visitors will feel right at home.
8. Provide Old-School Entertainment
With the oversaturation of high-tech gadgets in our lives these days, it can feel really refreshing to unplug for an afternoon. Play board games or cards, work on a big puzzle, read, chitchat, or go for a walk.
9. Reconnect at the End of the Day
Even if you and your visitors part ways during the day, it can be nice to regroup and kick back together at the end of the day. Make a ritual of carrying snacks and beverages into the living room or onto the covered porch and sharing stories about your day.
Kerrie Kelly is an award-winning interior designer, author and multimedia consultant. She has authored two books: ‘Home Décor: A Sunset Design Guide,’ published by Oxmoor House, and the newly released ‘My Interior Design Kit,’ with Pearson Professional and Career Education. To contact her, visit kerriekelly.com or call 916-919-3023.