Guests are coming for the holidays, and this year they're spending the night. If you've ever watched National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, don't worry - it doesn't have to be that way! You can have overnight guests and enjoy it, too.
If your guests will be staying with you for a few days, make sure they feel comfortable in your home and have all the necessary amenities (and then some). Prepare your house to make your guests feel welcome. From cleaning, to holiday decor, to planning fun activities, your guests may never want to leave! Proceed with caution, Superhost.
Prepare Your Guest Room for Overnight Guests
Your effort in the guest bedroom will go a long way in letting your guests know you care. You're not just setting up the air mattress and wishing them good luck; you want them to feel right at home. Even if you're repurposing your office or another room into a guest room, you can still make it feel special.
- Make the bed with fresh sheets and extra blankets.
- Include a charging station with USB plug-in options.
- Set up an extra TV if you have one, with Roku or Chromecast hookups.
- Print out your Wi-Fi login and password and place it where your guests can easily see them. Put them in a picture frame for a nice touch.
- If you have the space and funds, add a mini fridge to keep cold drinks in, like water bottles and sparkling water.
- Even with no mini fridge, your guests will be grateful for some water bottles so they don't have to roam the house at night.
- Set out a cute basket filled with grab-and-go snack items, like granola bars, trail mix, and small bags of chips.
- Provide a fan for white noise and a breeze to keep them comfortable.
- Clean the room, including dusting, vacuuming, and washing the windows.
- If your guests have children, make sure there is space for their Pack n' Play or an extra mattress.
Go the Extra Mile
Add a little holiday jeuje to your guest room to help your overnight guests get into the spirit.
- Change out the bedding with your seasonal sheets, comforters, and throw pillows.
- Add a festive touch to your snack basket with candy canes and chocolates.
- Set a tray on the bed with a scented candle and a holiday read.
- Put up some holiday decorations and a floral arrangement if there's room.
Ready the Guest Bathroom
The bathroom is just as important as the guest bedroom, if not more. It should be clean, smell nice, and have everything your guests might need during their stay.
- Clean the bathroom from top to bottom: toilet, shower, tub, sinks, mirrors, and floors.
- Wash your bathmats and rugs.
- Lay out clean towels and washcloths. If your guests are staying for several days, give them fresh towels every few days.
- Provide plenty of toilet paper and tissues.
- Put out some reading materials.
- Declutter your shower so there's room for their personal items.
- Provide a basket with thoughtful toiletries such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, soap, flossers, and feminine hygiene products.
- Set out cotton pads and cotton swabs for use.
- Keep guests comfortable by providing antacids, pain relievers, and allergy pills - just keep them out of reach of children.
Go the Extra Mile
Fill your guest bath with extra holiday touches to create a multisensory holiday experience.
- Create a holiday spa basket with bath salts, bubble bath, a relaxing candle, individual face masks, and a new loofa.
- Hang cute holiday towels and washcloths.
- Choose hand soap in holiday shapes or scents (or both).
- Add a bottle of room spray in a holiday scent.
Prep the Kitchen
The kitchen is the gathering place for you and your guests, and is essential to their comfort while they stay with you. Set your guests up for success by making sure they know where everything is and let them know they can use or consume anything they want.
- Clean out your fridge before everyone arrives. Leave some space for their items and organize everything into easy-to-find locations.
- Show them how to get coffee or tea in the morning. Whether you have a Keurig machine or you set the timer on your coffee pot, make this process as easy as possible for them.
- Show them where to find mugs, cream and sugar.
- Ask them ahead of time what drinks (alcoholic or not) they like so you can have those on hand when they arrive.
- Store non-alcoholic drinks like sodas, sparkling water and juice in the fridge and let them know they can help themselves.
- Ask about any food allergies or restrictions your guests may have and plan meals around those.
Go the Extra Mile
Make them feel right at home with simple self-serve items. Set up a drink and snack bar with a variety of coffee, tea, cocktail, and food options that they can help themselves to any time.
Add Other Thoughtful Touches Throughout the Home
You don't have to reconsider every corner of your home with your guests in mind, but there are a few things you can do to make their stay more enjoyable. Make your home feel less crowded and more relaxing with a little cleaning, decluttering, and maybe some rearranging.
- Clean the areas that tend to get neglected in your home: the crumbs in the silverware drawer, the popcorn kernels under the couch cushions, any blankets that haven't been washed in a while, and whatever else you think needs attention.
- Get out your holiday decor to create an enchanting ambiance during their stay.
- Make space for guests' shoes and coats in your entryway.
- Help them bring in their bags and get situated.
- Give them a tour of your home if it's their first visit.
- Introduce them to your TV and stereo setup so they know how to use it.
- If your guests have young kids, put away super fragile or hazardous items that aren't child-friendly.
- Make space for extra seating, even if that means rearranging some furniture.
- Let them know about any oddities in your home: a door that you have to close extra hard, a microwave that turns off sometimes, a creepy noise that may occur in the middle of the night. This will put their mind at ease ahead of time.
Go the Extra Mile
Create a super warm and welcoming environment for them to walk into. Some holiday music, a scented candle, and a tasty pre-made holiday punch will really make your guests feel at home!
Plan Entertainment and Activities
Come up with some ideas of things to do if your guests will stay for more than a few days. That includes things to do around the house like holiday games, and something to get you all out of the house for a bit.
- Find out if there are any fun holiday events to attend around town, like a parade, art or craft shows, or a Santa meet-and-greet for the little ones.
- Have some puzzles and games on hand to play during downtime.
- If you live in an area with hiking and the weather is good, offer options to get outdoors for some activity.
- Visit local restaurants, wineries, and breweries to give your guests a taste of your town (and to give yourself a break from hosting for a while).
- Check out what movies or plays are showing and plan a fun night out.
- Have a baking day where you can all make yummy treats and desserts to share, or decorate cookies.
Tips for Hosting With Pets
Whether you have pets or your guests are bringing theirs, there are a few things to be mindful of to keep your furry friends happy and safe during the holiday season.
- Ask if your guests are allergic to any pets you have so they can decide if they should stay with you, or so you can do what you can to mitigate allergens.
- Remind guests to keep their doors shut so pets don't go snooping around for snacks that might not be good for them - or mark their territory on your guests' belongings.
- Make sure no wrapped foods get put under the Christmas tree, where a pet could sniff them out and ingest them.
- If your guests are bringing a dog, show them where to let them out to go potty.
- Point guests to popular and safe walking trails they can take their pup to.
- Make space in the guest room for their pet's bed or crate.
- Create a space where pets can go if they seem stressed or are too excited. A quiet basement or separate room where they have food, water, and a bed will do.
Go the Extra Mile
Prepare some homemade holiday cat or dog treats for your guests' pet! But check first to see if their pets have any food allergies or restrictions.
Keep a Level Head While Hosting the Holidays
Don't stress yourself out trying to be the "perfect" host. After all, a relaxed and cheerful host is better than a tired and burned-out one. Reduce your holiday stress by keeping some helpful tips in mind.
- Make a to-do list in order of priorities. Start with cleaning tasks, then food and drink, then holiday decorating. Anything beyond those things is just an extra treat for your guests!
- Plan ahead. Avoid getting caught in a time crunch and give yourself a few weeks to start preparing for your guests. You can do some shopping and decluttering ahead of time so you'll have less to do later.
- Ask for help. Enlist your family to help you get the house in order before guests arrive. If you live alone, ask some of your nearby friends if they have time to give you a hand.
- Don't over-schedule yourself or your guests. Make sure you build in some downtime where you can all relax together (and take naps when needed).
- Don't overspend, either. Whatever you do, don't blow your budget on frivolous things just to impress your guests. This will only stress you out, and it isn't worth it.
- Tidy up daily while your guests are visiting. Don't let the dishes pile up or neglect sweeping or bathroom cleaning. We know hosting gets tiring, but you'll feel more at peace if you can keep your home tidy.
Your Guests Will Have a Great Time
Remember, you can always make another trip to the store if you forget something, and your guests aren't expecting perfection. They're just expecting to enjoy the holidays with you in your cozy home! As long as your house is clean, the guest bed is ready, and you have some food and drinks available, your visitors are bound to be delighted with their stay. After all, they came to see you, not your perfect home.