Easy tips to take the stress out of House Guests this Christmas
“The more the merrier” may be true but it does bring it’s own challenges and we are here to give you some tips to keep yourself feeling merry and bright as the guests arrive.
Let’s take it from the top! It is usually pretty chaotic when everyone first arrives so have a plan from the beginning.
Count your bedding, towels, duvets and pillows and get your sets together in advance.
You can help your guests and you by providing information ahead of time. Things like:-
- to bring their own towels or toiletries, whether there is a hairdryer for them to use.
- let them know key times like when you are planning to eat so that they can plan their own meals before arriving.
- Most guests want to bring something with them so have a think about what that can be. Being specific will help you out with the cost of things too.
- any allergies or dietary needs you weren’t aware of.
- Double check they day/time they are arriving and also this is a good time to make sure they are planning to leave too!
If guests are staying a few days freeze a couple of large meals in advance such as lasagne, shepherds pie or chilli then you can enjoy hosting and only need to come up with some accompanying crusty bread and salad.
Coats and Bags
It is amazing how a simple thing like coats can become so difficult to handle. Make sure the family coats are whittled down to the bear minimum ideally one each. Stash others away so that you have room for your guest’s coats in the usual hanging place, do the same for outdoor shoes. If you have stored holiday suitcases empty these can be a great temporary storage solution. Have a designated space for any gifts they bring – usually under the tree. Offer to take their guest bags straight to their room or area. So the clutter is out of the way quickly.
A great tip is to instruct the children as a guest ‘welcomer’ who can take great pride in collecting coats, bags particularly if you are up to your elbow in turkey!
Create a welcome drinks station with glasses at the ready. It doesn’t need to be large but if you pop it out of the way from your busy area (not the kitchen) it can help with the calm. Keep this stocked throughout Christmas, to make your life so much easier.
Make your guest as comfortable as possible by anticipating their needs. If your guest is in a temporary area make sure they have something to use as a bedside table, a power point to charge their phone and lamp within reach. Switching off the light at the door and then trying to make your way to bed in a dark unfamiliar room is not fun. Likewise if they need to make their way to the bathroom at night ensure there is a light to show the way. These inexpensive nightlights can be plugged into any socket
Earplugs and eye masks are thoughtful if it is not going to be a very private area or creating a little screen by moving furniture for a bit of privacy can also help. Think about where they are going to store their clothes, even an over door hook can help.
Provide towels (remember additional towel for guests with long hair) a little basket of toiletries. Stock up on spare toothbrushes and toothpaste, comb, hairbrush and things that someone may forget. Make sure each guest has access to a mirror.
Leave extra blankets and pillows if you can. A little note with the Wifi code is always appreciated.
You can never have enough toilet roll when you have house guests it is the one thing you don’t want to run out of. Also if you haven’t come across VIP Pre-poop spray it saves everyone’s blushes when nature calls. You spray it on the toilet water surface before you ‘do the do’ and it prevents smells from escaping the bowl. Sometimes noises can’t be helped! Having some tunes playing about the house can also save embarrassment!
Breakfast and Snacks – Take it out of the Kitchen
It is a lovely idea to make a cooked breakfast for everyone but the reality is hangovers, timing, space and all the other Christmas cooking means it is often impractical.
Making a breakfast station takes the pressure off everyone. Stock it with, juices, a pot of coffee, mugs and bowls, cereal bars, muffins and other goodies and leave everyone to it. If you feel the need to do something cooked try doing a hotel buffet style with pre-cooked, bacon, scrambled eggs. Keeping a stash of cook from frozen breakfast pastries like croissants and pain au chocolat is also a winner.
If you have the space moving a ‘help yourself station’ out of the kitchen will help you feel a lot calmer. Get creative, it might seem weird but use a space you have never thought of like the hallway. Buy a 2nd kettle or a mini fridge for milk and yoghurt or use a bowl of ice to keep things fresh.
If your guests are coming from afar, making them a little information pack for a local walk or attraction is a really thoughtful way to make them welcome.
When someone asks if they can help say yes please. Making tea, clearing plates, checking on the kids, walking the dog, plumping cushions – anything that makes your life easier.
Many couple’s arguments are miscommunications so before stress is high tell your other half how they can help you. For example “it would be a great help if you could be in charge of making sure everyone has a drink on arrival and could you handle the coats too”. “On Tuesday while I’m doing the hoovering could you empty the bins around the house”. Or simply present the family with a list of roles and what they includes and get them to choose – toilet cleaning will still be you – just so you know!
Emergencies – a few ideas
- ice packs,
- toilet roll (did we mention toilet roll),
- spare tights,
- find local pharmacists that are offering Christmas hours now.
Remember most people don’t remember the little things like an overcooked mince pie but they will remember that you gave them a warm welcome.
More stress free tips
Want some more tips to help keep things stress free. Read the lastest print edition of Bee Local Magazine here page 20 has some extra tips