How To Help Your Guest’s Feel More At Home
For so many all across the globe, the thought of house guests can be a very scary proposition. This can be a very daunting for even the most seasoned hostesses. Perhaps you are holding onto fear of hosting for the holiday’s this year. First, let’s help you put aside those fears. Then after we have put the fears to rest, I have some great tips for getting your home houseguest ready.
There is no fear needed for the true heart of hospitality.
Answer this question truthfully in your heart. If you were invited to a friend or family member’s house, right now, what would your reason be for accepting the invite? More than likely, your answer, would have more to do with spending time with the people in attendance, rather than how much square footage they have in their house or how fancy their dishes are.
Yet for many, the thought of inviting friends and family to stay with them is something done very hesitantly. Not because they don’t want to spend an extended period of time with those people, but because they feel that what they have to offer isn’t enough.
The fear and worry accompanied by entertaining, is often placed on the BIG things like house size or the value of the furnishings. The problem with these thoughts is that they are focused on superficial trappings and not on the meaning of hospitality.
I think we try to make the concept of hospitality so complex, when in reality it is very simple. True, pure hospitality doesn’t need to be buttoned up and polished. You do not need to banish your children from the premises leading up to grandma and grandpa’s visit. The heart of true hospitality is about thoughtfulness and generosity. It is about an open reception to all who walk through the doors of your home.
The most memorable experience I have ever had as a houseguest, had more to do with the way in which I was received then on the surroundings that I was in. My hostess was so warm and welcoming. She made me feel like an honored guest. She demonstrated this intention in little ways, like giving me a blanket to curl up with on the chair at night, my favorite ice cream stocked in the freezer, coffee in the mornings, and her relishing in getting to spend time sitting and soaking up the enjoyment of being together that made me comfortable. This family didn’t have an extra bedroom, but they gave me their bed. They didn’t have a large space, but the space they had was full of love. To this day, when I think of hospitality, I see her face.
Your guests this year can feel exactly the same way when they come to stay with you. The difference between extending true hospitality or just providing a place to stay, all comes down to a few small touches that will make a significant difference to your guests.
Special Touches for Your Guests
- A comfortable place to sleep: Your home may not have the luxury of an extra bedroom. For years my husband and I didn’t have an extra bedroom, but there was room for me to set up an air mattress in our laundry room. Invest in a good air mattress and find an out of the way spot to create a private sanctuary for your guests. If you have the ability to double up your children to make room for your guests, try to think ahead of what the child will need out of the space for your guests stay. Pull those things out ahead of time to be respectful of your guests’ privacy. A key part to a comfortable place to sleep, is to provide clean, fresh sheets. I also recommend adding an extra blanket for them.
- Stock the Bathrooms: Can we talk plainly here? Is there anything more nerve wracking or embarrassing than backing up the toilet in someone else’s house and not being able to find a plunger? What about when the person (child) before you used up all the toilet paper and there isn’t any more under the sink? These are easy fixes to pave the way for your house guests. Be sure to stock your bathroom so that it is easy for a guest to find supplies.
- Provide Towels: Go the extra step to provide towels. I like to place them on the bed prepared for my guest. When they are ready for a shower, there is no need for them to have to search for one.
- Give Closet Real Estate: One of the things that I hate most about traveling is living out of a suitcase. Offer your guests a piece of closet real estate so that they don’t need to feel locked up into their suitcase. Don’t have any real estate left? A garment rack is a wonderful investment piece. (It can be rolled into the guest space while they are there and then store in an out of the way place after they leave.)
- Think Tech: Let’s face it, if you have guests, they will have gadgets. Take a minute and write down your Wi-Fi password on a card for them. To go the extra mile, invest in a couple extra charging cords. There are some that are available to purchase that are made to charge multiple types of devices.
- There is a Password for That: So while we are talking about offering the Wi-Fi password; don’t forget alarm codes or all other “open sesame” codes that your house may have.
- Give the Gift of a Mini Bar: Who here among us has not been found scrounging in the bottom of their travel bag to find the cheerios that you packed for the kids after a case of the midnight munchies?? Take a minute to put some snacks together, a few bottles of water, toiletries, or whatever else would help to make your guests a little more comfortable.
Just a few simple, thoughtful touches really can make all the difference in the experience of hospitality that your guests will experience. Remember their time with you is all about being with you, so relax and enjoy.
I would love to know if you have a special way to get houseguest ready. Please share with us!
Here are links to view a few of the special touches that were mentioned in this article.