Hosting etiquette: making your home guest-ready for Christmas
With a bit of preparation and a little festive cheer, you can make your home sparkle, ready for guests and visitors throughout the holiday season. Ensure that everyone feels welcome and cared for in your home this Christmas with our top tips…
For many, Christmas is the time to visit relatives and loved ones who live far away, for city workers or those who work overseas to travel back to their hometowns for the holiday season. There are always lots of festive chores and tasks to carry out at this time of year, so our top tips will help you make sure that all your guests feel happy and well catered for while they are staying in your warm and cosy home.
Get ahead of the game
If your friends and family will be staying a night or two, plan who is going to sleep where, so you are organised ahead of time. Forts in the living room can be a fun place for children to sleep in, with the most comfortable beds reserved for older relatives.
If you need airbeds to accommodate for all your guests, choose ones specifically designed for home use with a memory foam topper rather than camping beds. It might be a good idea to keep an extra one to hand in case anyone unexpected visits at the last minute. Foldout beds with a thick mattress will always make for a comfortable night’s sleep.
Ready the guest rooms
Give your guest rooms a good clean, turn the mattresses and fit mattress protectors. Spare rooms can tend to be a dumping ground for clutter, so it could be an excellent excuse to get them organised. Make sure there are dressers clear of ornaments, or blanket boxes for guests to store their overnight bags and folded towels. Keep plug sockets easily accessible, so they have somewhere to charge their phone and leave a note of your Wi-Fi password on the bedside table.
If your guest rooms require a few homely touches, then a rug on the floor or a few frames on the wall will work wonders. They are also likely to appreciate mirrors for getting ready in the mornings, and a sleeping mask for a restful night’s sleep. Layers of blankets on the beds are better than plump, stuffy duvets, so your guests can build up their own thickness depending on their preferences. Have a stack of pillows on the tops of wardrobes, so they can choose what support they like best. If you have candles in the room, leave matches, or a lighter, and books are lovely to flick through in bed if they are awake before everyone else gets up in the morning.
Give bathrooms the five-star treatment
If you are short on time, book in a deep clean to get your bathroom gleaming. A hot shower in a fresh, clean bathroom is all that anyone wants after spending hours in traffic. Stack newly laundered towels in baskets, stock up on cotton wool pads and lay soft bathmats on the floor. Consider keeping spare toiletries and toothbrushes to hand in case anyone forgets anything.
A laundry bin and a wash basket for wet towels and face cloths will keep everything tidy while people are staying with you. A vase filled with freshly cut, aromatic eucalyptus leaves will make your bathroom feel homely and fragrance the room with a lovely scent that helps to clear sinuses.
Preparations in the kitchen
From sumptuous canapés to mouth-watering main courses, Christmas is a celebration of food and cooking to impress. Where your guests are concerned, this is where you can really go the extra mile to make them feel special. Preparation is vital when it comes to food at Christmas – do as much cooking in advance as you can and have drinks ready for when people arrive.
Check food allergies before your guests arrive so you know you can cater to everyone’s requirements. Freshly baked homemade loaves of bread or muffins might be a labour of love but will never fail to please when served at the breakfast table along with local preserves and butter, plus they make your home smell delightful!
Reserve sweet and sticky loaf cakes for afternoon tea, dished up with a sprinkling of icing sugar or with fruit and natural yoghurt. If you are hosting Christmas cocktails, then generous plates of entremets, palmiers and mince pies can be dotted about, adding a little seasonal jollity to the evening.
Acting the host
Even if you have your nearest and dearest visit for a carefree Christmas, you can still make sure everyone feels relaxed and comfortable. Be there to greet them at the door to make them feel welcome. Consider their every need; is there space for them to park in the driveway, has everyone been introduced to each other on arrival, are there enough seats for everyone to sit on? If your guests are bringing their furry friends with them, they will appreciate a jar of dog treats and an extra water bowl.
Remember that your loved ones are there to spend time with you, so try not to spend all day away from them in the kitchen, laying the table or washing up the dishes. Delegate little jobs and responsibilities to everyone in the family, such as clearing wrapping paper and making sure guests have their glasses topped up.
We hope our tips will help you to have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!