Posted in: Homeowner tips

How to prepare your home for holiday guests

How to prepare your home for holiday guests

Key insights:

  • A quick decluttering and cleaning can go a long way in keeping you organized and your guests feeling welcome.
  • Go beyond guests’ basic needs to offer maximum comfort in their sleeping spaces and bathroom accommodations.
  • Be sure to mark anything that's off-limits in the refrigerator to ensure your eggnog doesn't go missing before the big meal.
  • If you're hosting the next generation, the holidays are a great time to dig out old games and toys.

'Tis the season for house guests! Whether you've been living in the same home for many years or have recently purchased a new property and it’s your first time hosting holiday guests, follow these tips to ensure your overnight visitors feel warm and welcome in your home over the holidays.

Clean up

The holidays are busy, but taking some time to declutter will help you feel more organized and your loved ones more welcome.

Focus on the high-traffic areas of your home and the spaces that will bear the burden of extra people in your house. Your entryway, kitchen and eating spaces are places that will need to accommodate extra shoes, coats, food and chairs, and taking care to declutter these spaces now will save you from feeling overwhelmed when guests arrive.

When doing your holiday housekeeping, consider switching out your normal disinfectants, sprays and cleaners for those with seasonal scents like pine, clove and ginger for an extra festive feel. Visit the less-used areas of the house where guests will be (like spare bedrooms and bathrooms) for a quick tidying up and check for dust and musty odors.

Prep sleeping spaces

Begin by assessing the total number of guests, and how you might accommodate them overnight. Beds are ideal, but most people will understand if they’re relegated to an air mattress or couch for the visit. Offer an assortment of blankets and pillows so they can be as comfortable as possible.

You can turn any room into a guest room by adding amenities that you’d normally find in a room. Providing a place for luggage and clothing, making sure outlets are easily accessible and (if needed) creating an environment ideal for sleeping (ensuring windows have curtains, bringing in partitions or room dividers if needed, etc.) will help guests feel more settled and better able to relax.

If you have space, you can also put out tissues, a table lamp and a small tray or bowl where guests can store their wallet, keys and other personal items. While many people now use their cell phones as their alarm, you can also provide an easily programmable travel alarm clock on a small side table.

If you want to go the extra mile to make your guests feel special, consider adding a welcome basket to each room. This assortment could include some or all of the following:

  • Mints, candy and snacks
  • Water bottles
  • Phone chargers
  • Earplugs
  • Eye masks
  • Linen spray or aromatherapy (diffuser with oils, wax melts, etc.)
  • Hand sanitizer and lotion
  • Sheet with network name, wifi password and any other information they may need for their stay

Stock up on bathing basics

Be sure to show guests which bathroom they should use during their stay, along with how to operate any complicated bathroom appliances, like a tricky shower nozzle or a heated floor system. At this time, you may also let guests know about hair dryers, towel warmers or other gadgets available to them.

On the counter, provide easily forgotten essentials like shampoo, deodorant, toothbrushes and toothpaste. Don’t forget to put out clean hand, bath and face towels for everyone and restock the soap and toilet paper. And, if the bathroom isn't connected to your guests' sleeping space, consider lighting the hallway with a nightlight.

Traveling and eating rich foods can take their toll, so consider offering some or all of the following as well:

  • Pain medication
  • Antacids
  • Melatonin or other sleep aids
  • Bandages
  • Moisturizers and lip care
  • A nail file and clipper

The fridge factor

Most houseguests won't touch the cupboards or refrigerator without asking. Still, you should be sure to label anything that's “off-limits'' – lest you end up with someone drinking all the eggnog before the party starts!

Conversely, try to have a few easy-to-access snacks on hand to allow guests to fill up if your meal schedule isn’t perfectly aligned with their hunger pangs.

Some quick and simple snack ideas:

  • Vegetables and hummus
  • Crackers and cheese
  • Fruit
  • Olives
  • Holiday cookies
  • Nut mix or party mix

It's all relative

If you know your guests and relatives well, take their quirks into account as you prepare your home. If your sister is a coffee drinker, stock up on coffee, milk and creamer so she can start each morning off right. If your cousin is bringing their three children, set out your own kids' long-forgotten favorite toys and books to occupy them. These thoughtful additions can make all the difference and create a pleasant atmosphere for everyone.

Above all, enjoy the holidays

Holiday house guests come just once a year, but their visit can be stressful if you’re not prepared. By being proactive, you can ensure everyone looks forward to the annual tradition for years to come.

Hoping to upgrade your space so you can host next year’s holiday festivities? Reach out to Edina Realty or one of our agents today.

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