Christmas is less than three weeks away and many homeowners are preparing for holiday guests. In fact, last year, AAA predicted that 94.5 million Americans would be traveling between December 21 and January 1. If you are one of the many homeowners welcoming friends and family into your home this season, there are many special things you can do to make your guests feel right at home.
Founder and Owner of Pizzigati Designs, Jenna Pizzigati-Coppola has over 12 years of experience making homeowners feel comfortable and at home. “The same principles apply for making your holiday guests feel welcome as well,” she said.
And Mannie Tantawy, The Staging Fashionista, said the key is to keep it simple. “Small gestures will make your guests feel special and welcome when they know you are happy to have them stay in your home.”
Make a Good First Impression
“Be sure to let your guests feel welcomed as soon as they enter your home,” said Pizzigati-Coppola. “Have a bench or stool by your front door so your guest can take off their snowy boots with the greatest of ease. Maybe even go as far as leaving out some extra slippers for them to enjoy as soon as they take off their shows. After all, floors can be cold in the winter and the goal is to make your guest feel cozy and warm as soon as they enter your home.”
Similarly, make sure there’s room in your coat closet for your guest’s winter wear.
Additionally, Pizzigati-Coppola recommends lighting holiday or sweet smelling candles in your entry to set the tone for the rest of your home.
Prepare a Guest Basket
“Think of your own travel essentials and create a basket full of them,” said writer Michele Howe. “It’s a warm and thoughtful way to say ‘I’m glad you came and I thought you might need these to be more comfortable.’ I’ve done it in the past and friends seem to really value that I was thinking ahead, which translated to them that I was excited about welcoming them into our home.” Some items to add to the basket include: toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, hair products, makeup removers, k-cups, tea, snacks, candles and matches, and headache and stomach ache remedies.
Director of Global Community at HomeExhange.com, Keghan Hurst suggests including bottled water, snacks and local guidebooks in your basket. The basket doesn’t have to be fancy. Hurst recommends getting travel-sized toiletries from target.
If you don’t have a basket, use a tray. Kitchen and bath designer Nancy Dalton of Baywolf Dalton, Inc., recommends including a cup on the tray and including a note in the cup. “On this note, let them know where the silverware is in the kitchen, maybe where the coffee and tea is kept. Where extra towels, blankets, aspirin, tums and that sort of thing would be found.”
Get the Guest Room Ready
“To make a guest room more welcoming for the holidays, you should make it cozy and inviting,” said Tantawy. “Make sure you have extra blankets and throws for your guests.”
Hurst recommends clearing out space in the closet or drawers for your guest’s items. And Pizzigati-Coppola says “go the extra mile and give your guest room a hotel-like feel by leaving out slippers and even a bathroom robe or two to make them really feel at home and welcomed to be there.”
In addition, Ginny Underwood, owner of Virginia’s Easy Living Solutions, suggests placing fresh towels on a freshly made bed for your guests. “Place bottle water and glass on the nightstand together with some thoughtfully chosen books or magazines.”
In the Kitchen
“Be sure to always have some quick and easy bites or snacks readily available and always out for your guests to enjoy,” said Pizzigati-Coppola. A bowl of fresh fruit or something sweet, like cookies or holiday candy, would be perfect. “I assure you, it will definitely be something your guests will enjoy throughout their stay.”
Finally, set out a tray, glasses, cups, spoons, sugar, tea or coffee, so your guests feel welcome to make themselves a drink in the morning. “Leave a brief note,” said Underwood. “‘Help yourselves to coffee, tea, juice, cookies are in the jar!’”