Guide to Hosting Holiday Guests

Playing host for the holidays comes with its perks. You don't have to travel, you'll probably enjoy extra say over the holiday schedule and menu, and you won't have to figure out pet-sitting. But we understand it can also feel a little daunting. That's why we've put together a little holiday guide for hosting—with tips for a merrily relaxing visit for you and your guests!

Welcome kit
You want your guests to feel right at home the minute they step through the door, and what could be more inviting than a packaged welcome kit? It doesn't have to be complicated. A simple yet thoughtful assortment of convenient niceties will do just fine. Items you could put together:

  • Your Wi-Fi password (you know they'll ask)
  • A spare house key (more freedom for them and you)
  • Emergency contacts (in case they're around town or at home without you)
  • Bottled water and snack food (especially if they've had a long journey)
  • A festive and heartfelt welcome card (speaks for itself)

For the entry
If you have a coat closet, make sure it's clear of clutter and has plenty of hangers for jackets. If no closet, make sure your coat rack is clear or that you've designated some other space for outerwear. Also, make a spot for shoes if you don't want your guests to wear them throughout the home.

For the guest room and bathroom
You'll of course provide fresh linens, but here are a few just-in-case items you could stock to ensure guests have everything they need. Your guests might not end up needing them, but they'll feel loved knowing you thought of their needs.

  • Spare toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Full shampoo, conditioner and body wash
  • Extra towel and washcloths
  • Extra toilet paper
  • Tissues

For the kitchen
Stock up on items for quick meals and late-night rummaging (e.g. fruits, veggies, sandwich fixings, chips and dip). You'll also want to make sure the coffee station is clear and easy to use even if you're not there to brew a pot. Giving your guests a quick kitchen tour is also a good idea, ensuring they know where the trash and recycle are, how the disposal and appliances work, and that they feel comfortable grabbing a snack when they're hungry.

For the laundry
If your guests are staying for any length of time, they'll likely want to do a load of laundry—especially if they have small children. Stock up on gentle laundry detergent and show them how to use your washer and dryer.

For dogs
If you've got a dog that your guests aren't familiar with, and if your dog's skittish or a playful jumper, you might consider picking up a pet gate. You could set it up in the main living area, allowing your guests and dog to gradually get acquainted without either party feeling stressed out. The gate can always come down once everyone's comfortable. 


Of course, not all of these tips are necessary for your guests to have a great stay—and different homes will require different accommodations—but hopefully they help you put together an action plan and feel more at ease about holiday hosting.

Check back at The Front Porch for more timely holiday and lifestyle tips. And if you're thinking you could use an extra guest room, start your search for a new home here!