My mother is a fantastic hostess. Growing up we had a revolving door of guests in our home, all of whom would rave about her status as ‘the hostess with the mostess’. What really set her apart was not a slew of amenities or fancy presentation, but her thoughtful attention to detail that made each person feel valued and special.
The prospect of house guests can be a little daunting, especially during the holidays. On top of the feasts and festivities that come with the season, attending to the comfort and needs of guests can sometimes feel like just another thing on your long list of things to do. An easy tactic to combat last minute panic is to assemble a few thoughtful ingredients ahead of time to transform your guest room into a welcoming sanctuary, even if your ‘guest room’ is the pull-out sofa.
1. Towels: A fresh towel for each guest is a must. Go the extra step and pair that with a small set of little bathroom essentials (see 2.) or at the very least a new bar of soap.
2. Basic toiletries: It’s easy to forget little essentials when you’re preoccupied with all the details of holiday travel. I grab the mini shampoos and lotions whenever I stay at hotels for just this purpose. The toothbrush I receive with each trip to the dentist gets added to this collection as well. Store them in a container with your linens so that they’re readily available to give out to guests if they need them.
3. Reading materials: Staying in an unfamiliar place can often throw off regular sleep patterns, so leave a book you’ve recently enjoyed or a favourite magazine (I hear the latest issue of Chatelaine is fantastic!) by their bedside.
4. A bottle of water: Leave a carafe, or at least a bottle of water if you don’t have one, by their bedside. This way you’ll save them a precarious walk in the dark through an unfamiliar house if they’re thirsty in the middle of the night.
5. Blankets: Be sure to have at least one extra blanket in the room in case they’re cold in the middle of the night. There’s nothing worse than being uncomfortable in an unfamiliar place when everyone has already gone to bed.
6. Comfies: Along that line, leave an extra pair of slippers or cozy socks in the room. In a chilly moment, they will be so grateful for this thoughtful detail.
7. The list: Create a list of important numbers, and details that your guests may need. Be sure to include your home wireless internet key or any passwords or alarm keys they may need (if you don’t mind sharing them).
Gather these things together ahead of time to ensure that by the time the guests arrive, you’ll be calm, collected and ready to sit back and enjoy their company – or at least focus on the festivities at hand rather than fuss over details.