How to Get Your Home Ready to Welcome Holiday Guests
It’s a blessing and a curse, right? Your family sends word that they’re coming to town and they want to stay with you. Friends message that they can’t wait to see you … and your new house. You’re eager to see them, but possibly less eager to have them inspect your space. What if your housekeeping or guest room amenities aren’t up to snuff?
You love your friends and family, and you do indeed want them to come stay — especially around the holidays. Yet it’s a lot of work to have house guests, no matter who they are. You would never say no, but once you say yes, there’s a lot of work to do. To help you get a jump on it all, consult this handy checklist.
1. Ensure Toasty Warmth
To guarantee a good holiday hosting experience, you must first see to your guests’ basic comfort. With colder weather approaching, now is a great time to check your HVAC systems. General guidelines advise getting your heating and air conditioning equipment checked once a year. If you haven’t yet done so, have your gas furnace serviced and its filter replaced. The last thing you want is to end up cold and miserable during the holidays because your HVAC system breaks down.
Speaking of cozy comfort, there’s nothing like having a roaring fire in the fireplace when guests visit. But before you strike the first match, have your fireplace inspected and cleaned. Creosote buildup can cause a chimney fire, which is not the sort of warmth you want to provide! After you’ve ensured fireplace safety, you’ll have an ideal place to display a yule log or other festive decorations. You can even rearrange your furniture to provide ample seating in front of the dancing flames.
2. Declutter and Clean
Even if your guests aren’t the white-glove-test sort, you will be happier to welcome them into a home that’s clean and tidy. Or perhaps that should be “tidy and clean,” as the decluttering part should come first. Now is your chance to clear out spaces you’ve been meaning to get to but just haven’t. Corners of your home with “stuff” piled up and guest rooms that have become catchalls need your attention now. Act on, file, or discard accumulated paperwork and finally take old clothes, toys, and unused kitchen equipment to Goodwill.
Once that’s done, you can begin the cleaning process, dusting furniture and cleaning floors in public areas and guest rooms. Pay particular attention to the bathrooms and the kitchen, as mold and mildew can build up in the dark corners of these rooms. And don’t forget your outdoor spaces. Clear entries of obstructions and shovel sidewalks and driveways to eliminate snow and ice. Guests and their luggage will be passing through these areas, and the clearer they are, the less likely an accident will occur.
3. Prepare the Designated Guest Spaces
Wherever you intend to have your guests sleep and store their things, it needs to be not only clean but also prepared. Make up a comfy bed with extra blankets and pillows. Clear out space in the closet or a dresser so your guests have room for their clothes. It’s nice not to have to live out of a suitcase, especially when holiday finery is involved.
One guest room amenity your visitors will appreciate is having a nightstand or end table within easy reach of the bed. Wherever people will be sleeping, provide a sturdy surface where they can set their bedtime items — glasses, phone, a glass of water, etc. A phone charging station, bedside lamp, alarm clock, and a basket of books or magazines are other considerate touches. This close attention to detail shows your guests that you put thought into their stay and want them to feel welcome.
4. Get Your Bathrooms Ready for Prime Time
Whichever bathrooms your guests will be using should be scrubbed clean, of course. But you’ll also want to have enough towels available and an ample supply of toilet paper. You can also keep extra toiletries on hand. A guest may forget to pack their toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo or conditioner, or body lotion. They’ll be grateful to avoid a trip to the drugstore because you’ve helpfully provided a backup.
Another to-do item many people forget is to check the lock — or lack thereof — on the bathroom door. If your bathroom doesn’t have a privacy lock, leave a rubber door stopper in the corner by the door. Guests can wedge the door shut and thus avoid any embarrassing walk-ins while they’re tending to their bathroom business. On the flip side, if your bathroom does have a privacy lock, a visiting child could accidentally lock themselves in. Practice your lock-picking skills before they arrive or apply a door knob safety cover with lock guard during their stay.
You’ve Got This
With these guest comfort and safety basics in place, all that remains is to deck your halls. Whether it’s turkeys for Thanksgiving, a menorah for Hanukkah, or trees, lights, and wreaths for Christmas, the holidays are much more festive with decorations. As a final touch, you could bake fresh cookies, muffins, or a cake to share upon arrival. The enticing aromas from your kitchen will provide the warmest of welcomes for your visitors.
At first, it might feel like a lot to get ready for guests to arrive this holiday season. But when you think about it, most of these things were probably on your to-do list anyway. Now you can feel good about getting your home into beautiful shape and relaxed about company coming. Let the holiday merriment begin!