Monday, December 21, 2009

Ten Tips for Having House Guests

Having house guest for the holidays? Here are the Top Ten House Guest Tips from ivillage.

They're coming... Like an annual avalanche of good cheer and dirty towels, holiday house guests are rolling your way, with all the accompanying chaos and comedy. We asked iVillagers, "What are your best strategies and tips for handling holiday house guests?"

1. I tell guests who've been here before, "The first time you're a guest — the second time, you're family." That means make yourself at home, but clean up after yourself when you're finished. Then I make sure to show them where everything is: plates, glasses, snacks, towels.

2. Put them to work! At my house, guests know they'll be called upon to do stuff like set the table or cut up veggies.

3. Plan out breakfasts, lunches and dinners in advance, and post the plan on the fridge. That way anyone can look at it and see what is going to be eaten when. They won't eat everything, and someone else can help you prep the food.

4. Leave Clorox wipes in the bathroom. Someone is bound to notice misses and spills and wipe up for you.

5. I pile all my unused sample bottles into a lovely basket, put it on the guest bath vanity with a sign that says, "Help yourself," and let them enjoy the free bonus lipstick that was not my color, or the little shampoo bottles I've never used.

6. Have at least one room that is a travel free zone. The living room perhaps. You can tell everyone to put their things in bedrooms. That way you have at least one room that doesn't look like craziness.

7. Every night, have the coffee for the next morning in the pot ready to go, so if a guest (I am looking in your direction, father-in-law) wakes up before you do, he can just push the button.

8. Be sure to ask guests what their itinerary is for visiting others, when they'll be around, etc. Hosting is easier if you know when you'll have some downtime to rest or catch up on laundry.

9. Well, here's how not to do it: I clean like a madwoman for weeks in advance to make the house bed-and-breakfast beautiful, make fancy dinners and then try to sneakily clean up after everybody and do laundry while my husband sits around talking with them, so there are enough clean towels and dishes for later. It's awful! I have visions of my mom doing the same exact thing for her guests when I was growing up. Ugh! This year I have a new policy: As long as the laundry is up to date and the bathroom is kept clean, most of the other housekeeping stuff can wait.

10. Move! That's my best advice. If they can't find you, they can't stay. LOL.

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