Having company to stay over the Christmas period can be both fun and stressful at the same time. It’s so great to see friends and family that we don’t see all year, but along with that comes a lot of preparation and, basically, hard work. Here are a few ideas to start you off on the right track.
Make sure your bedrooms are tidy and comfortable
Unless you have the budget for it, there is no need to go out and buy a bunch of new sheets and throw pillows to pimp out your spare room. But do take some time to think about how you’d like your guests to feel when they are staying at your house. Air out the room if you haven’t been using it and consider placing a scented candle or fresh flowers on a table to get everything freshened up. Put some newly washed and ironed sheets on the bed and fluff up the pillows, it might even be worth buying a new mattress. If there is a closet, be sure and leave a few empty hangers on the rail so that guests can hang up their holiday wear. Also, empty out a drawer if there is one. A few extra little touches might be something like a bottle of water and nice glass at the side of the bed alongside a little dish they can put their loose bits and bobs in. And what about a chocolate or some little Christmas cookies on the pillow? Your guests will feel like they are at a B & B.
Beyond fixing up the guest room, don’t forget to pamper yourself a little bit! Hosting is hard work and after a long day of cooking, cleaning, and keeping up the general niceties to grumpy Uncle Harry, you’ll appreciate a fresh clean set of sheets to slip into with your pajamas already laid out for you.
Don’t expect too much
The jokes about arguing with family at Christmas time are there because there is some truth to them. So, why not just accept it and take the good moments with the bad? If certain people always argue, try to put them at opposite ends of the table at dinner time. If the kids are running amok, get somebody to read them a story so you can hear yourself think. If people are arguing over the remote control, take possession and turn on the Christmas music of your own choosing instead. Seriously, nothing is that important.
And it’s not just about family relations! Nothing is perfect so if your souffle flops or the main poultry sports a burned skin, just serve it all up as a savoury pudding and smoked turkey. Nobody cares if the plates don’t match or a wine glass or two gets broken. The main thing is that everyone gets to be together on this rare occasion in whatever way that it happens. Keep your sense of humor, try to enjoy the good moments and keep yourself away from perfectionist notions.
Have some activities planned
There’s nothing relaxing about having a houseful of guests who have nothing to do. Try and have a few activities up your sleeve for when there is a lull in the conversation, so to speak.
-Board games and decks of cards- The oldies but goodies! The great thing about these old standbys are that most games are multi-generation friendly. If some of the kids are too young, they can always team up with an adult. And it’s fun, even for adults, to play a little game of Go Fish! once a year.
-Interactive computer games- Games where teams can take turns trying to be the best musician or play a good game of tennis in the living room can be a lot of fun for a group of friends or family.The activity can help you burn off all those extra calories, as well.
-Walks or drives- If our visitors are from out of town, they might enjoy exploring the area in which you live. Plan a local hike or a drive to see the Autumn leaves. And don’t forget the novelty of a sunny Christmas if you live in a warm place and your visitors are from up north. Take them for a December walk on the beach so they have something to talk about when they get back home.
Try to have fun!
Fun is the main objective. Let’s not forget that. Otherwise why in the world would you invite all these people into your home? Remember to keep your stress levels down by asking for help in the kitchen, taking breaks, enjoying a little bit of healthy dark chocolate and perhaps even a glass of wine. Just don’t over do it! If it’s going to be longer than a few days, be sure to keep yourself rested and watch those kids’ bedtimes. Nobody enjoys an overtired child, not even the child.
When having guests for the Christmas period, you can go all out or you can keep it simple. Begin with these four must-do items and you are sure to have an enjoyable holiday.