As I’ve shared before, my parents entertain a lot. They’re home, Bliss Barracks, named for our time in El Paso, Texas is busy almost every weekend from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Shortly after Labor Day, the summer beach draw fades, they have a bit of a hosting break and then it all starts back up again for the holidays. I would say, I don’t know how they do it all but my Mom definitely has the gift of hospitality and a knack for making all of the details look effortless.
I’ve asked her to share her 10 best tips on how to make overnight guests feel welcome throughout the holiday season and into 2016…
Plan Ahead – Find out what each family/couple/guest will need prior to arrival. Are they coming for the weekend? The week? Overnight? Then plan meals and activities accordingly.
Make Sure the House is Clean and Clutter Free – Amp up your cleaning schedule a few days before your guests visit. The house should be clean, clutter free and smell inviting. If there is something that needs to be cleaned out like a guest bedroom closet or coat closet, take care of it at least a week before guests arrive so you won’t feel pressured at the last minute.
Stock the Fridge and Pantry – Although, we tell guests all the time “help yourself,” few actually do. I leave baskets of fresh fruit, healthy snacks, boxes of chocolates and bottles of flavored water on the kitchen island so if they’re hungry during the day or late at night they have access to snacks. I also leave a menu card with an approximate serve time on it. For example, if a guest is snacking at midnight, they’ll know we’ll be eating crepes for breakfast around 9 am the next morning.
Create Cozy Guest Quarters – Make sure the bed is comfortable and the linens are the best quality linens you can afford. Provide a soft place for your guests to place their feet first thing in the morning and soft blankets for napping during the day. Make sure to have extra sets of towels in the bathroom that are easily accessible.
Give Your Guests a Little Space – If guests are staying for a few days leave drawers and closet space open so they’ll have a place to hang up and put away clothes. Make sure there are plenty of outlets for charging electronics. Also, be sure there is extra surface area on the nightstands for things like glasses and phones.
Be Hotel-Minded – Provide necessities related to personal care. Some people pack in a hurry and almost always forget basic items like toothpaste or a contact lens case. Having extras will save a trip to the store.
Be in the Know – when people come to visit they’ll most likely want to explore the area so make sure you’re able to give them good directions, restaurant recommendations and activity suggestions.
Write Down the Basics – Keep a note card with the alarm code, wifi information code and basic television remote instructions accessible so guests can enjoy these activities even if you’re not at home or have gone to bed.
Put Together a Welcome Basket – A welcome basket instantly says, “I’m so glad you’re here.” You can put everything from extra toothbrushes to slippers in the bakset depending on the length of time your guests will be staying.
Relax – After a few weeks of cleaning and preparing for houseguests it can be frustrating to leave those last few items on the to do list unfinished but you have to find a way to let it go. When the host is relaxed, the guests also feel more relaxed. Be present in the moment and enjoy your company – you never know what adventures wait.
See you guys back here tomorrow. I’m sharing my Mom’s secrets for a well-made guest bed.