Here it comes friends…the most wonderful time of the year! That time when family and friends come to visit… and stay. There’s a hard way and an easy way to entertain out of town guests and the difference between the two is planning. With a little planning and doing things in advance you can turn your home into a home away from home for your out of town guests.
Tidy the House – Start well in advance and give your home some thorough, detail-oriented attention. In virtually every home there’s one area that routinely gets passed over at chore time. Find yours. Having carpets cleaned will be very helpful if allergies or pets are a concern of your guests. Also, consider making time for that redecorating project you’ve wanted to do but haven’t found time for; you’ll feel good showing your visitors around your spruced up living space.
Plan Sleeping Quarters – Figure out who’ll sleep where and if there are more guests than beds, consider purchasing a few air mattresses and the appropriate sized linens. If you have air mattresses, check out the condition making sure there are no slow air leaks and that everything is clean and smells nice. If you have an extra mattress, you can make up a trundle style bed ahead of time and simply slide it underneath another bed.
Check Guest Linens – There are two schools of thought on guest linens – some people prefer white towels because they look crisp and can be bleached clean. Others like colored towels. I prefer colored towels because I like to roll a washcloth, hand towel and bath towel together and leave a different color for each guest on their bed. Leaving a separate color for each guest helps keep up with whose towel is whose in the bathroom. Whatever you decide, ensure that your guests have nice, soft towels rather than the scruffy rejects that can wind up in your linen closet.
The Extra Mile:
Anticipate Needs – Assume that your guests will forget something. Have extra toiletries on hand and easy to find. Look for soaps, shampoos and conditioners with gentle formulas and unobtrusive smells. Your tough as nails old Uncle Herbert may have extremely sensitive skin or just no desire to smell like gardenias. Shop accordingly.
Don’t Forget the Kiddies – Never underestimate the power of a fresh coloring book and crayons for your youngest guests. Puzzles, stickers and things to build will also come in handy. Plus some age appropriate videos and games may be just what’s needed at times.
Provide Snacks – Leave bottles of water, granola bars and/or fruit out for your guests so that they don’t feel awkward or uncomfortable if they get hungry when you’re not around. Try to think of dietary restrictions and plan accordingly. Be sure to orient them to the kitchen so they can help themselves and know where things are kept.
Offer Opportunities for Exploration – DC is such an amazing place during the holidays. Your guests may want a chance to see some of the local attractions. Suggest a list of some unique events, such as seeing the National Tree, for your guests. You can always catch great things to do in DC weekly on our site Tuesday’s fun things for kids and Fridays on our 4 things to do!
Just for Fun:
Offer Local Flavor – Sampling some local foods can make your guests feel more familiar with the area. Here’s a short list of fun local products to set out or give as gifts:
The sisters at Our Lady of the Angels Monastery make, sell and ship a nice Gouda in Crozet, Virginia.
Delicious local honey.
We can’t forget the local wine industry! The Meritage from LaGrange Winery in Haymarket, Virginia is a can’t-miss.
For baked goods, the first name on most locals’ minds is Georgetown Cupcakes. They offer gift boxes of their holiday selections.
If you’re looking for something unexpected, consider Grassroots Gourmet. They have something for everyone, with a selection you have to see to believe and a respectable list of vegan and gluten free offerings.
The main thing to remember is to have fun! Enjoy this special time with friends and family and keep in mind this opportunity only comes once a year. Happy Holidays and good luck!
Want to experience even more joy? Take a moment to think about others and what can be done to help. What a great group activity it could be to buy gifts for those in need, donate food, put money in the kettle, visit, sing and more.