How to make friends and family feel at home when visiting for the Christmas holidays

Fifteen To Dinner

It’s that time of year again: the time when family and relatives visit for the holidays. Time to get the guest room in tip-top shape. Here are a few tips you can use to make relatives feel welcome during their stay. Whether you have a dedicated guest room with its own bath or a just den doing double-duty, there are easy ways to make your guests feel special.

  1. DECLUTTERED SPACE. Rarely-used guest rooms often get tapped as spillover storage space. Just remember, it’s not relaxing for your guests to sleep in a storage bunker. Pack up the knickknacks, spare clothing and general junk, and store it anyplace else. Guests should have at least a couple of empty drawers to put things away, and they should have closet space for hanging clothes. They should also be able to put a book and/or a bottle of water on a clutter-free nightstand. Bottom line: Give them space.
  2. SEATING AREA. These days, a lot of people travel with their laptops, so having a reading spot in the guest room, or even a desk with a chair, is ideal. For an extra thoughtful treat, offer visitors some reading material, such as local tour books, magazines or newspapers. If you want to go a step further, leave reading glasses alongside fun reads. Your guest doesn’t always want to be in the living room with everyone else. Everyone does need their own little space sometimes.
  3. LIGHTING. In general, lighting sets the mood for any space. Without the right light, a guest room can feel dingy and uncomfortable, while the perfect mix of natural and artificial light can make most any guest room cozy and cheerful. To start, bedside lamps on nightstands (or wall-mounted swing-arm lamps) are practically a must. Another overhead light is preferable. And a nightlight can be a great way to help guests unfamiliar with your home feel more comfortable.
  4. NICE LINENS. Sheets and towels are important, and today luxury linens are quite affordable. There’s nothing better than having beautiful linens to sleep on. If they can be pressed, they’re even better. It’s always important to wash sheets and towels that are brand new and to rewash clean sheets that have been sitting on the guest bed unused for weeks or months. Quality pillows are essential. Don’t skimp on the pillows. We don’t want to give our guests backaches.
  5. NICE TOILETRIES. To make an impression, break out the good stuff. In addition to the niceties, don’t forget the necessities, such as extra toilet paper and tissue. Make them easy to find in a guest-bath vanity. It’s also nice to pick up extra toiletries when they’re on sale and leave them in a basket for guests to use. Have a bar of soap, a razor, an extra toothbrush – things they might have forgotten.
  6. A PASHMINA. Many of our guests this time of year are fleeing blizzards. But many are also packing flip-flops, shorts and bathing suits, forgetting desert nights get quite cool. A pashmina or extra sweater in the closet can help them stay warm. And it’s always great to have a textured throw or extra blanket in the room.