For many of us, the holidays mean welcoming family into our home for several days. As it has often been easier to have our family come to us, I wanted to do what I could to make their stay relaxing and meaningful. Having hosted out-of-town family each Christmas for more than a decade, I’ve learned a few things that might be worth passing along.
- Be ready! Travel, especially air travel, is not exactly glamorous these days. Make sure that when your guests arrive that you are ready with a fire, or at least lit candles, some holiday music and some nibbles in case they haven’t had a decent meal all day. Give them time to dust off and don’t plan anything big on the first night. Flights are often delayed….so don’t pressure yourself with dinner reservations that you may not make.
- Personalize their visit – have a stocking with their name hung with the others, have a personalized placecard on the table or have an ornament for them to open and place on the tree (and then take home with them)…anything that can say, “you were expected and anticpiated”.
- Decorate the guest bedroom. If you find that there are extra decorations that you don’t really have a place for, consider putting them in the guest room: hang a wreath, display a miniature Christmas tree, or set out a bowl of greens and ornaments. Anything that might add to the holiday spirit will make them feel welcome in their “holiday home away from home”.
- Set the table in advance. There’s something about walking into a home that is “done”. Having the dining room table set in advance will not only be a festive welcome, but will alieve you of having to perform this task while your guests are there.
- Plan something fun. This is an opportunity to break up the visit and for you to do something you might not normally do. Treat yourself and your guests to a memorable experience.
And, it’s ok to plan “down time”. You need it. Your guests need it. Plan some time that is free in the schedule, so that everyone can recharge and return to a fireplace chat with something new to talk about.
Here’s to sharing the holiday hospitality spirit!