Get Ready for Holiday Guests

The holidays are here and it’s that time of year when your home can often turn into Grand Central Station with a revolving door of friends, family and overnight guests. Use our handy checklist to welcome your out-of-town visitors and make them feel at home – so everyone can enjoy the visit.

Guest Quarters

Spruce up guest bedroom(s) with fresh sheets and warm layers. Place an extra blanket at the foot of the bed for guests who tend to get cold at night.  Clear out a drawer and some closet space for guests to use and throw in a few extra hangers.

Stock up on reading material, from magazines to books, and don’t forget a reading light, such as a bedside lamp or wall sconce.  Make sure the alarm clock is set to the right time. Better yet, replace that old clock radio with a small iPod docking station.

Save guests from bending over bags by setting up a luggage rack, folding tray table or bench.

Free up a power outlet for chargers for phone, camera and laptop. Leave a little note on how to access the Wi-Fi and jot down a few websites of your favorite points of interests and restaurants in your town.

Roll up extra towels and washcloths and store them in a basket or shelf where guests can easily spot them.  Add a little merriment: hang a stocking from a bath hook and fill it with toiletries suitable for men, women and children.

Don’t forget other bath essentials, such as a travel hair dryer, toothbrushes, pain relievers and stomach remedies.


Prepare a warm, hearty meal for weary guests. Arrival times don’t always go according to plan, so save special nights out for a later date.

Be sure to have plenty of coffee (decaf, too), cream and sugar on hand. Keep a couple of travel mugs handy for guests on the go.

Know your guests diet restrictions or allergies ahead of time so you can plan to have snacks and meals that everyone can enjoy. If they have kids, ask if you can pick up anything from the store for them, such as milk and yogurt.  Stock up on fruit and easy snacks, like granola bars, nuts and cheese and crackers, and let your guests know they’re welcome to help themselves to any of these items.

Designate a handy spot, such as a message board or shelf, where you can leave important notes and numbers, guest keys and brochures about local hotspots.

Family Room

Label remotes or include a sheet of instructions on how to navigate your entertainment system, often a mystery to outsiders.  Employ a bookshelf or storage ottoman to store toys for guests with kids. Include items like blocks, coloring books and crayons and Play-Doh.

Drape a cozy throw over the sofa or a chair for extra warmth. Fill a pretty dish with mini candy canes and little chocolates. It is the holidays, after all!

Gear up for your guests ahead of time, and you’ll enjoy your visit – and the holidays – without getting stressed. What are your favorite tips for preparing for overnight guests?

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Patricia Palermo

Patricia Palermo

Patricia Palermo has been writing about home décor and design since 1999, which is when she first learned the term faux bois. She's passionate about helping others find their design style, because she believes with a little know-how and inspiration, anyone can decorate with confidence. Patricia has a degree in Journalism and lives in Atlanta with her husband and four-year-old twins.