Holiday Houseguest Tips to Help You Survive

How to survive and thrive during that holiday visit by friends or relatives.

You always want your houseguests to have a good time and treating them well may make them feel guilty and leave when they gave you their word that they would leave. The best holiday houseguests are the ones that don’t overstay their welcome. I’ve teamed up with Jeffrey Welder, the Marketing Director and Interior Decorating Expert at Vant Wall Panels. Vant Wall Panels are the most innovative and user-friendly wall décor system ever created. Vant is inspiring living at its finest. They’re perfect for every room in the house, from bedrooms and living/family rooms to kitchens and the home office. After your guests leave, it might be time to put up these cool panels, but here are our tips.

Nothing says welcome like a picture!

You can personalize the space your family or guest is staying in by adding a framed photo of them in the room! Extra points if you’re in the picture too! It’s that little bit of effort that will make them feel at home. Don’t have any pictures of them? Visit their Facebook or Instagram pages and print one off.

Everyone loves toiletries

One of the first things people do when they go to a hotel is check out the free toiletries. Even seasoned travellers like the tiny sized goodies. Get a few sets with shampoo and soap or whatever else you want, in travel size, and add them to each room. Include a little note letting your guest know that you have other things, if they forgot something (extra toothbrushes, sanitary products, whatever you think they could use).

A few of their favorite meals

If you don’t know your guests very well, you might want to check in with them in advance of their trip to see what some of their favorite meals are. It’s a real icebreaker for someone to arrive in the dining room to find that the dish that makes them happiest is on the menu.

Nibbles and wine

Leave a bottle of wine and glasses in the guest’s room, if they’re into that, along with a bottle of water per person and a small bag of treats to nibble on. Who can say no to nibbles?

And for the small guests?

Kids love to be treated like mini-adults and visiting someone else’s house can be daunting so make sure that they feel welcome with their own kid style toiletries, or leave a goody bag with a rubber duck, a coloring book and some pencils, a book (if they’re old enough) and have some board games on hand. If the child is still a baby, you might want to have a few extra things on hand: extra towels, baby shampoo, a cuddly toy sitting and waiting for them in their room. The kiddo won’t know the difference, but the parents sure will.

Entertainment time

If your guest room has a connected television, make sure that your guest has instructions for turning on Netflix, so that they can retire to their room when all the festivities are over and watch a little something before bed. If your television set isn’t connected, a DVD player and some choice holiday classic DVDs (think White Christmas, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and Home Alone) will do the trick!

Keep it local

Placing a basket with some welcome gifts in the room is a nice touch – and if you keep it to local artisans and shops, your guest can check some of them out before they leave town, in case they want more of those delectable chocolates you added. Just make sure to include the business cards with the goodies and you’ve got your own personal welcome wagon happening.

It’s lovely to have a houseful of guests for the holidays when things go well: you can enjoy the festivities with a lot of singing and fun. But there is another aspect to consider: guest proofing your house! Accidents happen and never more so when there are several more people running around the house than usual. So there are a few steps you can take to get your home ready for the extra people, and extra ‘oops’ that might occur!
 
Equip yourself

Make sure your first aid kit is up to date—a run to the all night pharmacy in a blizzard wouldn’t be the best thing. Bandaids, antibiotic ointment and so on. Have over the counter products like acetaminophen, cough and cold solutions, allergy, anti-diarrheal and heartburn medications on hand in case a guest feels unwell. You also might want to check on your emergency provisions: a snowstorm and power outage could make things very tricky if there aren’t enough flash lights, batteries and blankets to go around!

Do a ‘move and hide’ sweep before the guests arrive

Take a walk through your home and see if there are decorative pieces, artwork or even heirloom furnishings that you would want to keep intact. The best way to preserve your sanity is to move them elsewhere for the holidays, where they will be safe from spilled juice or sticky fingers. Tell your kids to do the same with toys that are extra special to them: finding that their favorite lovey has had it’s hair chopped off by little cousin Annie could be the start of an ugly battle!

If you have new furnishings or floor coverings, you might consider moving them or covering them up. No need for the old fashioned plastic furniture covers though: a throw blanket over your new white chair will save it from most spills and general usage.

Coasters are essential. Stock up and put them everywhere so that when Uncle Milt feels the need to put down the third glass of eggnog that he has taken up, he’ll have somewhere to put it that won’t ruin your antique finish coffee table.

Shoe / boot mats at the doorways are always a good idea at this time of year and consider stocking up on some stocking slippers that you can give to your guests who aren’t comfortable going without footwear.

Bathroom prep

The single most embarrassing thing that can happen to a guest is a toilet mishap where they have no means to fix it or at least minimize the result! Have a plunger tucked under the bathroom sink and a toilet brush handy, in a decorative holder. Make sure there are enough hand towels available and extra toilet paper tucked under the sink or in a basket. Even if you’re not a regular user of scent products in the bathroom, having a can of scent spray can help a guest feel less ‘on the spot’ about any residual odors they may have caused!

Be ready for spills

When hosting guests, the odd spill is inevitable. Be ready for them because spills are best dealt with when attended to immediately, before they have a chance to set. Have old tea towels for dabbing handy, and a stain spray solution to ensure that nothing sticks. If you aren’t into chemicals, you can make your own stain remover that will work on most any stain. Get a spray bottle and fill it with a quarter teaspoon of dishwashing liquid, a cup of lukewarm water and a cup of white vinegar. Spray the solution on your tea towel and dab on to the stain. Don’t rub or pour the solution right onto the stain.  The former will set the stain and the latter can be damaging or even spread the stain.

Are you insured?

Before having your entire family over to stay, check your homeowners insurance policy to make sure that you’re well covered for everything from a slip and fall injury, to water damage in the bathroom from an overflowing toilet, to fire damage from the stove top popcorn that went haywire. Of course, none of these things are likely to happen but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. And if hosting your family is what prompts you to double check these things, that’s all good for you.

After all is said and done, when you’ve prepared your home as best as you can, you can sit back and enjoy the festivities with everyone, knowing that you’ve put your best foot forward and your Tiffany vases in the closet.

Have a great holidays!

Those holiday houseguests

Rick Limpert

Rick Limpert is an award winning Atlanta-based freelance writer, columnist, host of The Tech of Sports Podcast and best-selling author. He has covered sports, technology and events all over the world. His works have been featured on Yahoo Sports, Yahoo News, Examiner.com, nba.com and in Sports Illustrated.

Send this to a friend