Spending time with family and friends truly encompasses the spirit of the holidays. Hosting the people that you love in your home, however, can be stressful. With the holidays fast approaching, having family and friends in your house can seem more than a little daunting. Where should everyone go? What can I do to make sure that everyone has a fun time at my holiday party? How can I make them most comfortable?
Luckily, you don’t have to completely rearrange your home to make it warm and welcoming for your guests. In just one afternoon you can get your home guest-ready, with a little furniture rearranging, bathroom prepping and more.
Create a Comfortable Space
Taking time to make sure your guests are comfortable can do wonders for your own sanity. Try to anticipate what your overnight guests will need (towels, extra blankets, etc.) to prevent the awkwardness of them having to ask you and your frustration in having to explain things to them.
Consider rearranging your furniture as well. Organize your sofas and chairs in a way that’s inviting for conversation, recommends Jordan Crouch of CountryLiving. A circular arrangement is great for conversation.
Be mindful of chair height and make sure that most of the furniture is around the same height to avoid having someone a head below the conversation. It’s these small details that seem unimportant but make all the difference—even if you’re guests don’t realize it.
Prepare for Children
Having children in your home can be a wonderful or horrid experience, depending on how you prepare. Start by prepping for any safety hazards. For example, check that toxic cleaning chemicals are locked away safely or at a height that they can’t reach.
Be mindful of your electronics and their parts, particularly button batteries that are commonly found in TV remote controls. “Button batteries, the small, circular-shaped batteries found in remotes and other small electronics, account for over 84% of battery-related emergency room visits,” according to the safety experts at The Home Security Super Store.
Warn your guests if you have a pool at your home, and ask if their children can swim; this is most applicable for those who live in warm weather year round. Ultimately, being open with parents about potential risk factors in your home will make everyone happy and less stressed—especially if you don’t have children and are uncertain about what is considered “dangerous” or not.
Encourage Guests to Help Themselves
This is particularly important for extended houseguests. Serving guests at a party is fine, but if guests are staying at your house for more than one night, this can get exhausting for you and them.
Show your guests where the utensils and glassware are and encourage them to help themselves to help themselves, according to MarthaStewart.com. You’ll end up feeling less like a waitress and more like a hostess, and they will inevitably feel more comfortable—no one likes putting their hosts out.
Don’t forget to ask about food preferences and allergies before guests arrive and stock up so they’ll feel more at home.
Invest in Overflow Sleeping Options
An air mattress can be a saving grace for unexpected or extra guests. They’re convenient and easy to store, and can save your guests from a bad night’s sleep and an aching back. If you don’t already have one tucked away in your closet, check big box stores, who likely have a variety of price and style options.
Don’t forget that there are many alternative sleeping options available as well, like feather beds and cots. Though not as space efficient as an air mattress, these beds can be rolled up and stored away in a closet for when you need them.
Finally, don’t forget to have plenty of blankets and pillows. In the winter, this is especially important; there’s nothing worse than sleeping at someone else’s house without enough blankets, not being able to get warm.
Consider the Bathroom
If at all possible, give your guests a bathroom that’s for their use only. This gives a feeling of privacy for both you and your guests. Stock up on bathroom essentials like soap, shampoo and conditioner and fill the closet with fresh and clean towels—holiday-themed towels are a fun way to be festive without feeling like the house is over-decorated.
Finally, enjoy yourself. A good hostess has as much fun during the holidays as their guests.
BIO: Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years and has five years of experience in the marketing world. She is currently a lifestyle blogger and has been featured Homes.com, Tripping.com and LifeHack.org. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07.