PREPARING FOR HOUSEGUESTS
If your lives have been like mine, where the past few weeks have been frantic and the nights restless, the last thing you are thinking about is receiving guests for the holiday season. Well fabulous hostesses, the trees are barren and the breeze frosty…. It’s November 13th and it IS already the holiday season!!! So jump into the jubilee bandwagon and get ready to celebrate with family and friends!
Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t be! Here is a checklist to help you organize the receipt of houseguests. During hectic times it is certainly difficult to manage work, social and home lives, we are humans (not 9-life cats) so I hope you find this utterly helpful.
Your goal is to make your guest feel as comfortable and at home as possible. (It is a win-win – you allow your visitor to completely relax and enjoy her stay, while keeping them off your back when you’re busy juggling all your lives.) The first place to start is the bedroom.
Here is what you need to do: aside from making the bed with fresh linens (duh), put out some extra bedding, an extra pillow or two and a thicker blanket. The worst feeling is to be frozen at 2 AM, so make sure your visitor has some provisions.
Don’t neglect the bedside table. Put a thermos filled with water, a glass (or two) and a jar of late night treats (think: chocolate, or my all-time favorite, gummy bears) on a small tray and leave atop the bedside table. As a frequent guest, I always smile when the hostess leaves small thoughtful touches like these!
How many times have you been a guest to a home that has overflowing closets and cabinets (I mean, in the guest room)? Let your guests feel at home and allow them to unpack their belongings, so leave (at least) a few drawers and hanging space in the guest closet. Put out spare hangers and even a clothing hamper for laundry.
Aside from putting out fresh towels (duh), I suggest you leave some essential bathroom toiletries. Make your guests feel extra special by putting shampoo, conditioner and soap in the bath. I was a guest at a home that left a fresh tube of (travel sized) toothpaste and I felt like a queen! (Especially as I had forgotten to bring my own…) Leave non-essentials like a glass jar filled with cotton buds and q-tips, a working hairdryer and a scented candle and you’ll be a hostess hero!
When my Grandmother used to visit us in the Philippines (from America) my Mum would always welcome her with a basket of kakanins, her favorite Filipino childhood treats, like: polvoron, kropek, chicharron, lenguas de gato and champoy. (Translation: shortbread cookies, shrimp crackers, crispy pork skin, sugar cookies and salted plums…. American readers, doesn’t this sound YUM?!) So, whenever I have guests staying over, I like to leave them with a basket filled with local treats – homemade pretzels from my favorite vendor at the farmer’s market, chocolates from a delicious West Village chocolate shop and some NY apples.
For twenty-something New Yorkers who have less than barren fridges, make sure that you stock your fridge with some compulsory groceries (think: milk, eggs, bread, orange juice, fresh fruit) as well as some goodies you think you’re guest would love. And, make sure you have enough coffee and tea!
And, you thought I’d forget the most important decorative element… Invest in some flowers for your guest and leave them in the most unexpected places: a bud on the bedside and in the bathroom and a vase full in the living room. Nothing declares a warm welcome than some fresh beautiful blooms.
Lastly, leave a quick information cheat sheet out for your visitors. Many of us have wifi passwords longer than telephone numbers and more complicated than solving a rubix cube, so make sure you have that written down for your guests. Your 411-page can also include other important information like your security code or fire alarm code and then some neighborhood must-do’s like your favorite coffee shop or the closest deli. If you feel extra attentive, leave out a map of the neighborhood or the subway system.
With this simple checklist you’ll be a professional hostess, and (for better or worst) your guests will never want to leave! What makes this so easy is that you have most of the items already in your home; you simply need to spend a few thoughtful minutes preparing and laying them out for your visitors.
Since I enjoy being so considerate, here is a Prepping for Your Guests To Do List, that you can print out and check off (what is more gratifying than checking off a to do list?!) before your guests arrive!
Enjoy, dear hostesses!