You’ve just been told that it’s your turn to have your cousin’s family at your house for the holidays. Eeek! Now you not only have to prepare for the party, but for house guests as well! No need to panic. It’s doable, with a little bit of imagination, some thought about the ages and temperaments of your coming guests, and just a little time and expense.
One thing about having house guests is that what you usually think of as normal living space paraphernalia looks like clutter when people are coming. To stow away some of that stuff, but still keep it handy, you can obtain some of those flat, flexible containers that zip up. The flexibility makes them so you can stuff them pretty full, then store them under the beds. Another option is to use spare luggage, the garage, or even the trunk of your car.
Sometimes, in the rush to get out of town, people forget to pack certain essentials. Your guests will be grateful if they don’t have to ask for, or run out to buy things like toiletries and paper products. Stocking your bathroom with travel size containers of shampoo, deodorants, tissues, paper towels, and other sundries will make you the perfect host in the eyes of your guests. You can use decorative baskets or small, colorful, plastic containers to make them part of the decor.
Are there children coming? Dedicate a craft corner. Stock a small table with art supplies like paper, pencils, crayons, scissors, glue, etc. Add a couple decks of cards and a board game or two, and they can amuse themselves for hours. A soft stuffed animal propped on their pillows can help make homesickness disappear when darkness comes around.
Adults can usually fend for themselves for amusement, but don’t take chances. If you have to work, or if you’re going to be out a lot running errands, be sure there’s something to do at home. Of course, you can have a list of local activities they may want to attend, but they will surely be spending some time in the house. A supply of current magazines is a good start. Books placed so they look welcoming can help, too. If you have some DVD’s to watch, that can occupy adults, teens and even kids, when age-appropriate.
A common problem when you’re a guest in someone’s home is the inability to sleep. Make your guests feel at home with a good supply of bottled water, and something they can munch on. Place a basket of snacks in a prominent location, so people know they’re welcome to them. Of course, soda, and if you like, “adult” beverages are always options, too.
The rest is just the mechanics of decorating and getting ready for the party. You can even involve your house guests in the preparations. Kids love to “help”, and most adults like the camaraderie of doing things like that together.
Whatever you do, we hope all our friends have a safe, healthy, happy holiday season!