Preparing for Christmas guests

The holiday season is about more than just rushing to stores to stock up on presents. Socializing and hosting friends and family members to catch up on a year’s worth of news also makes this time of year so special.[cointent_lockedcontent]

12-23 Page 1B.inddBefore friends and family arrive, holiday hosts must take steps to prepare their homes for their guests. The following home prep plan can make relatively easy work of tidying up the house and ensuring it is inviting to guests.

Start with the entrance

Hosting can motivate homeowners to finish certain home improvement projects that enhance the appearance of their homes. Tidy up your home’s entryway to make it more welcoming. Be sure the front door and walkways are well lit. Remove obstructions and trim back bushes and other plant life. Festive decorations can brighten up the space. Don’t forget a welcome mat to reinforce to guests that they truly are welcome at your home.

Quick cleaning

Sometimes the joy of hosting can be overshadowed by the task of preparing for your guests. Although a thorough cleaning of the home is great if you have the time, it may not be necessary. Go from room to room identifying spaces that are in need of a thorough cleaning. Spend time in the kitchen clearing clutter from the counters and make sure the dining space is clean and the table is presentable. A table runner and a centerpiece of festive flowers can brighten up the space instantly. Fluff cushions on sofas and give floors or carpets a quick vacuuming. Always be sure the bathrooms are clean and fresh, with laundered hand towels at the ready. Children’s bedrooms and other areas of the house may not require such a critical eye. Simply keep doors closed in off-limits rooms.

Create a guest sanctuary

Overnight guests should have a designated space they can use as a retreat. If you do not have a guest room, consider having children bunk with one another and designating one of the kids’ rooms for your guests. Fresh linens, an alarm clock, a television, and Internet access are nice touches.

A guest room also can be set up in a den or office with a pull-out sofa bed. Provide access to a nearby bathroom so guests can enjoy some privacy.

Hosting children is easier than hosting adults because they won’t require the same level of privacy and space. An extra mattress tucked under the bed in your child’s room can be an impromptu place for kids to retire.

Stock up on supplies

Purchase extra travel-sized toiletries at the drug store so your guests’ needs are covered in case they forget something. Store them in a zip-top bag and let guests know where these items are kept.

Purchase a guest set of towels, sheets and pillowcases. Keep these in an air-tight storage bag or bin, so when guests arrive, they will have their own set of linens. Launder these linens after use.

Stock up on food

Ask guests which foods and beverages they prefer and try to have some on hand. Use your spare time to prepare some meals and freeze them. This way if someone drops by unexpectedly, you can simply defrost a meal and have it ready in no time. Keep a tin of cookies and tea bags ready for those who pop in for a snack and conversation.

With the holiday season in full swing, holiday hosts must ready their homes for overnight guests.

Things to consider when hosting for the holidays

Holiday hosts have a lot on their plates. The work of holiday hosting does not begin when the first guest arrives. It starts weeks before, when homeowners begin preparing their homes for overnight guests.

Because the holiday season can be so busy, it’s easy for hosts to overlook certain things as the day their first guests are set to arrive draws nearer. But the following are a few things hosts should consider in the weeks before their guests show up.


It’s hard to overlook accommodations when hosting for the holidays, but it’s best to inspect linens and other items that might go largely unused throughout much of the year. Check foldout couches or air mattresses a few weeks before your guests are slated to arrive. This gives you ample time to address any issues and also allows you to comparison shop and find great deals on any items you need to replace. Hosts who are parents to young children may want to discuss sleeping arrangements before guests arrive if kids will be asked to sleep in different beds. Kids might embrace the change, while others might be less enthusiastic. If younger cousins will be staying over, let kids choose their new roommates, which might make them more excited about sharing rooms with their guests. Explaining the situation in advance gives youngsters time to ready themselves for their temporary move.


When hosting for the holidays, let your guests know if you have any pets. Some people have dog and cat allergies, and those allergies may make it difficult for them to enjoy their stay. Others’ allergies might be so severe that they have to find alternative lodging. Let guests know about your pets when you invite them to stay at your house so no one is surprised at the last minute. In addition, let guests know if they can bring their own pets along to your house.


Ask guests before they arrive if they have any particular food allergies or items they need to avoid because of any medications they might be taking. This is especially important for youngsters, who may forget to avoid homemade cookies with nuts despite having nut allergies. By asking in advance if your guests have any food allergies or foods and ingredients they must avoid, you will know to avoid serving particular dishes so no one accidentally eats foods that might make them sick and you can prepare alternative dishes for people who must avoid certain foods.


If guests will be staying for several nights, explore a few local activities so everyone can get out of the house for a night or two. Time spent with family is one of the best parts of the holiday season, but spending all of that time inside in cramped quarters can grow uncomfortable over time. Plan a family night or two out that everyone can enjoy.

Hosting for the holidays is a great way to welcome loved ones into your home. Considering and discussing a few factors before your guests arrive can ensure everyone enjoys their stay.