Tips for Making Overnight Guests Feel Comfortable & Special
Having overnight guests for the holidays can be stressful -- for the hosts and the guests. If you took part in our 4 Week Holiday Decluttering Challenge, your guest room should be in pretty good shape to start setting the scene for a cozy, comfortable stay.
Begin by thinking about things that you would want to have available to you, and remember overnight stays away from home when there was something -- or something missing -- that made you uncomfortable. Then think about your guests, and what you know about them. If you're meeting that college boyfriend or second wife for the first time, you may need to ask their significant others about any special needs they might have.
Some people think that you should try to make your home like a hotel. Why would you do that, when you're offering something much better by sharing your home. With all that in mind, check out these tips for making your guests comfortable in your home. And remember -- nothing is more welcoming than a gracious heart.
A CLEAN GETAWAY
It's so easy to forget basic items when you pack for a trip, especially if you're in a hurry. Place toothbrushes, toothpaste, razors (his and hers), shaving cream, combs, shampoo, body wash, feminine hygiene products, and lotion in a basket for your guests to use. Try to buy unscented, hypoallergenic products. Those cute soaps and lotions aren't so much fun if a guest gets a rash!
Make sure guests know where to find towels and wash cloths intended for their use, and that you provide extras, just in case. Consider providing a blow dryer and hair styling products for your guests as well.
A GOOD NIGHT'S SLEEP
Your home may be warmer or cooler than your guests are used to. Try making the bed with a light blanket under the comforter, and add a folded blanket at the end of the bed for additional warmth. If you're concerned that it may be too warm, offer a fan. Put a few different kinds of pillows on the bed so each guest can find something comfortable for them. A humidifier set on low can fight dry air and add a little white noise to the room. A nightlight makes it easier to navigate an unfamiliar room in the middle of the night without turning on lamps or overheard lights. Tissues on the nightstand and a small wastebasket in the room are a must.
Don’t have a guest room? You can still make an air mattress or pull out bed comfortable and cozy. Adding an “egg crate” mattress pad to either will improve comfort. Don’t skimp on bed linens or amenities – they’ll be even more important. If you can, place a screen or hang a curtain to provide a little extra privacy and make the space cozier, especially if your guests will be sleeping in the family room. Make sure family members and other guests know to steer clear of the area during sleeping hours.
Time zone difference, medication requirements, and personal habits might mean your guests need something to eat or drink long after you've gone to bed. Offer light snacks and beverages in the guest room so that guests won't have to feel awkward asking, or go hungry late at night.
Your guests may keep very different hours than you, or they may just need a little alone time to relax. Offer music, or even a television, in your guest room. Place some of your favorite books or magazines on the nightstand for them to enjoy. Make sure they have the WiFi password and a place to charge their phones and other devices.
Prepare a list of fun and interesting things to do in the area, and how to get there, in case your guests find themselves at loose ends while you are at work, making another airport run, or dealing with last minute details. Make sure they know when to expect you back, and how to reach you.
WEAR IT WELL
Provide plenty of hangers and closet or wardrobe space for your guests to hang clothes, especially if they will be bringing special occasion attire like suits and cocktail dresses. Drawer space for their folded clothes will make them feel more at home and make it more convenient A hamper or laundry bag will help them keep things tidy and organized. If guests will be staying for several days, offer the use of the laundry room if possible.
Make sure there is room in the coat closet or on hooks near the door for your guests to hang their coats. Extra gloves and hats are nice to have on hand for unusually cold weather and joyful snowball fights.
EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED
Be prepared for everything from the guest who surprises you with a plus-one to a medical emergency. Purchase a few extra gifts to have on hand for the unexpected guest. You can't go wrong with gloves, gadgets, and grub! Check the schedule for the local urgent care center so you know ahead of time what your options are in case of serious illness or injury. Have Benadryl and hydrocortisone cream on hand for allergic reactions, anti-nausea medication like Bonine or Emetrol, along with Pepto, Immodium, and Tylenol on hand to treat various ailments.
IT REALLY IS THE LITTLE THINGS
A tiny Christmas tree on the dresser, some festive pillows on the bed, and a little garland around the mirror will show your guests you're happy to welcome them to your home. Leave a light on in the hall or add a nightlight to make it easier to get to the hall bath in the night. A stocking on the mantle and a personalized ornament on the tree are heartwarming touches.
Too much fuss and your guests will feel like a burden -- not enough, and they'll wonder if you really want them there! The better you know your guests, the easier it is to strike the right tone and offer the comforts of home they'll most appreciate. Above all, remember to relax and enjoy their company! Tell them you're happy to have them, thank them for coming, and invite them to come again.