By Carole Masters
Expecting company for the holidays? It’s exciting and you look forward to welcoming your guests and enjoying the time together. Avoid holiday stress and do some early preparations to make it a happy time for one and all.
“Take the time now to do some de-cluttering, repairing, and restocking so you can be confident your place is looking its best,” says Jura Konclus of The Washington Post. Don’t wait until your company is about to arrive before you “clear the decks” as my mother would say. Rid your guest rooms and living areas of any clutter such as old magazines, newspapers, catalogues and those things that have out lived their usefulness.
Organize closets and dressers to make some room for your guests’ belongings. Add hangers if needed and perhaps a luggage stand. For a light and hospitable atmosphere, check that lamps are working and linens and towels are clean and stain free. If your guests are sharing bathrooms, Real Simple Magazine suggests a set of colored towels different from your everyday ones, which will help guests identify theirs.
Take stock of any items you might add for the ease and comfort of your company. “They may be used to sleeping with 2 pillows, so store an extra set somewhere handy,” advises Real Simple. In case they get cold, an extra blanket at the end of the bed is always welcome. If possible consider a comfortable chair in the room as a nice spot for guests to retreat and give you some time to yourself, as well. Add a robe and slippers and your guests will feel absolutely pampered.
Stock toiletries in a guest bathroom or provide a basket by the bed if your company will be sharing a bathroom. Important items to include are soap, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, tissues and body lotion. Feel free to use those mini bottles you may have collected from hotels. This time of year, I like to place some disposable cups in the bathrooms to avert spreading those colds and other illnesses. Bottled water is also an option.
Now that your rooms are neat, fresh and stocked, make them sparkle with a good cleaning a couple of days before your guests arrive. Don’t forget the refrigerator. Clean the shelves and walls and eliminate those old leftovers and expired bottles.
Once done, you can restock for entertaining.
Finally, consider these last minute finishing touches that will make your guests feel welcomed and valued.
Place a few books or magazines in their rooms to read before sleeping. If there is an interesting book about your town, even better,” says Real Simple. They also suggest making a list of possible activities to entertain your visitors. Add some scented candles and a vase of flowers, possibly sprigs of holly or evergreens, as the season dictates. Your guests will be overwhelmed with your thoughtfulness and savoir-faire.