I love having guests over, it is the best part of the holidays! Well, my husband would tell you otherwise, but don't listen to him. It's just that he sees what none of my guests see... a crazy lady flying about the house for a good two weeks in advance preparing the little guest niceties, starching linens, and rearranging the house (yet again). But nothing compares to that feeling you get watching the smiling faces of your guests enjoying their stay, knowing that you caused someone else to feel rested and happy over their vacation.
Here are 5 detailed touches to make your home guest friendly!
1. Create a Welcome Basket to put on the bed of overnight guests:If you really want your guests to know just how special they are to you, this little touch will leave them all warm and fuzzy inside and out!
Welcome Basket Ideas:
- Fluffy robe
- Towel & washrag
- Comfy slippers
- Tea cup with a variety of hot drink options: Herbal tea, hot cocoa, coffee or substitute.
- Bottled water
- Wrapped sweet treat: Mints, biscotti, chocolates, etc.
- Newspaper, sudoku or crossword puzzle activity book
Child Welcome Basket Ideas:
Remember when filling baskets for children that the purpose is different from that of an adults. You want to give a child something age appropriate to occupy themselves, giving mom and dad a little break to chat with you! Whatever you put in this basket needs to be something they can take with them when they leave, and something that won't destroy your house! Inform the parents of the contents before the kids see it, just to ensure that what you are providing is allowed.
- Fruit snacks, or other healthy treat such as a granola bar, crackers or other snack to hold them over between meals. (Avoid items with nuts or common allergy food items).
- Age appropriate magazine, or activity booklet for reading, and to occupy them while the parents are visiting or relaxing.
- Pad of paper & crayons for children way past the "draw on walls" phase. *wink*
- Toy for toddlers (something they can keep and will occupy them on their drive home).
2. Stock Help Yourself Trays in an accessible corner: These are the little indulgences your guest can feel free to grab anytime. While we often say "help yourself" or "make yourself at home", not all personality types are comfortable going through someone else's cupboard to find what tickles their fancy, this allows the most timid to grab without a hint of guilt or discomfort!
Tray/Basket Ideas & What To Fill It With:
- Beverage Tray: Herbal teas, hot cocoa, coffee or substitute, flavoring syrup, sweetener (honey, honey sticks, sugar packets, sugar substitutes), emergen-C packets (in case someone feels a cold coming on), stir sticks or spoons, mugs, water flavoring drink packs.
- Dessert Tray: Cookie jars, candy jars, savory snacks, mixed nuts, etc. Include a "help yourself" tag to this corner.
- Breakfast Basket: Instant oatmeal packets, cranberries or dried fruit, and toaster strudels. Bring breakfast tray out with other items such as cereal options, a basket of fruit, etc.
3. Put together a Forgotten Items basket, just in case! Keep toiletries commonly forgotten for overnight guest, as well as day visitor items. These are the items you buy in small individual packages or in the travel aisle. Here are a detailed list of ideas so that you can have everything covered...you may not need every item on the list, consider the types of items your particular family and friends commonly use.
Overnight Guest Item Ideas:
- Mouth care: toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, or floss picks, mouth wash
- Personal: deodorant, tampons & pads, personal wipe packs
- Body care: soap, body wash, lotion, vaseline, cocobutter
- Hair care: shampoo, conditioner, gel, hair spray, comb & brush, hair bands, shower cap
- Hair removal: razors, shave cream
- Small tissue pack, Q-tips, cotton balls, makeup removal wipes
- Stain removal stick
- Ear plugs (especially if you have kids that stay up late, or rise early!)
- Contact solution
- Wrinkle release spray
- Baby & Child: baby powder, baby oil
Frequent Use Bathroom Items:
- Small tissue pack
- Floss picks & breath freshening strips
- Extra toilet paper roll
- Optional: extra pads or tampons (keep it classy)
4. Provide for Comfort Quirks: Some of these tips are very near to my heart... for example, nothing is worst than being too hot or too cold while visiting a friend, it can really make or break the visit.
- Throws & quilts: over living room chairs for people who are always cold.
- Living room floor pillows or throw pillows: for sprawlers who like to sit on the floor
- Small fans in bedrooms: for overnight guests who are always too hot.
- Layered bedding: Provide at least two different pillow types, some like them fluffy and big, others prefer less fluff. Layer bedding types for those who like to sleep under a sheet, those who prefer a fluffy comforter, and a flannel throw over the foot of the bed for the constantly cold sleeper.
- Reading materials: books, magazines, puzzles, etc. for downtime and lulls in conversation.
- Conversation starters: guest book, photo albums, signed corks, interesting art pieces, etc.
- Keep TV remotes in one labeled basket by TV: some overnight guests like to watch TV to wind down before bed.
- Refrigerator stocking: Stock individual bottled water and juice in the door of your refrigerator where easily seen when opened.
5. Label Things Your Guests May Look For And Can't Find : When I am a guest, I hate having to interrupt conversation and festivities to ask where the trash can is, whether they recycle, or where the cups are located. If these (and other frequent use items) are not in obvious sight, it makes it easier on everyone by labeling these things. Welcoming labels such as "Help Yourself!" are also fantastic! They clear up any confusion as to whether these items are on display, to be used at a certain time, or for anyone anytime!
Here are a few items worth putting a temporary label on:
- The Trash Cabinet
- The Recycling Bin
- The Main Bathroom (if the door is usually kept closed)
- The Medicine Cabinet
- The basket you keep the TV controllers in, with instructions for TV use.
- All the Trays & Baskets you have put together especially for guests
Guests will appreciate all the thoughtful touches! Of course, if we don't want them to stay forever we might need to consider dialing it back a bit. *grin*