Within the last year, the Lord has allowed many wonderful visitors to come through the doors of my home. In that time, I’ve scoured Pinterest and my own brain for ideas on how to make guests feel welcome. With the holidays soon upon us, my mind turns again to ways we can open our homes to others. This is a general list, but there are some very good ideas on Pinterest for overnight houseguests.
- Clean, but don’t. That sounds contradictory, but it’s not. Stick to your normal cleaning routines that you do for your own family. Maybe you have an area that needs extra attention, but do that a week before, since deep cleaning the day your guests arrive just isn’t going to make you a happy hostess!
- Decorate for the season. Similar to the first rule, the idea is that you change your décor throughout the year to fit the season. That way, you aren’t making or buying last minute fall décor for Thanksgiving dinner! I rotate a small stock of seasonal decorations for specific places in my home. I keep my basics neutral to match, which means I’m not rushing to buy bunny, heart, or pumpkin everything. Financially, you can save quite a bit of money by buying the items you’ll need for your table or mantle after any given holiday. Also, I don’t decorate for every holiday, only the general season. I rotate between spring, patriotic, fall, and Christmas. As for hospitality, this step saves you time the few days before you have a large party or overnight guests.
- Do your major tasks a week out. If you’re making crafts or fixing household honey-do’s, don’t let them wait until the day before your party! This will frazzle your nerves, I promise! You want to tackle those things a week or two out if you’re having a large party or overnight guests. If you’re inviting your friend over for coffee, please don’t think you need to have a perfect home! Being down to earth is honestly more important in small gatherings than having completed your to-do list.
- Be real. Be real in your preparations for guests. If you don’t live with an immaculately set table, please don’t do it for guests. For example, my family doesn’t drink soda, so we don’t often buy it for guests either. I wouldn’t want my guest thinking I lived a certain way, then dropping by and being surprised by how we actually live!
- Give yourself time for a nap. On the day of your gathering, choose to spend a few minutes sitting down. Likely, you’ll have stood plenty that day, preparing a meal or working on last minute details. Giving yourself at least a half an hour in your schedule to nap equates to at least ten minutes to sit still and goof off!
- Prepare for your guests. If you’re able to make food ahead, or prepare bedding, or make a little basket of snacks for overnight guests, do those tasks a few days before they arrive. You’ll save yourself all sorts of headache by not waiting until last minute, and you’ll show your guests that you thought of them! Go to the store at least a day in advance, and, if the budget allows, pick up a simple bouquet while you’re there. It’ll brighten everyone’s mood!
- Be a happy hostess! It goes without saying that if you make someone’s stay pleasant, they will want to come visit you again. Recently, we had guests who enjoy coffee any time of day, so the coffee maker stayed busy! Whether using a favorite set of dishes, tablecloth, or cloth napkins, make it a little special for both you and your company! It really is such fun to have friends and family over and to serve others in this way!