Here they come! Here’s how to prepare your home for holiday guests
Ding Dong! I hope you’re ready! The holiday guests are here! Actually, before they arrive, take some time to make your guests feel welcome and lessen your stress with these tips.
Guess who’s coming to dinner
Don’t get caught off guard because Auntie Whatever-Her-Name-Is thought it would be fun to surprise you. Get confirmation of everyone who will be staying at your place during the holidays.
Some neighborhoods have limited parking and rules for overnight guests. Cars may be okay, but what about an RV? Reserve street spots in advance. Contact your HOA for the most up-to-date rules, restrictions and fines for overnight street parking.
Put out the welcome mat! The front entry, driveway and porch are the first areas guests see when arriving at your home. Make sure they are well lit, freshly swept of debris and critters, and outfitted with clean outdoor furniture and fresh plants. Add a nightlight in the guestroom, bathroom and hallway.
Nothing can ruin holiday festivities like a plugged sink or overflowing toilet. Making a lot of mashed potatoes? Do NOT send potato peelings down the disposal. You are asking for trouble and a visit from the plumber (Rosie-Certified, of course). Make sure all toilets are in good working order. A backed-up toilet can be quite embarrassing for the person who last used the loo.
The guest bedroom and bathroom
For guests staying longer than a night or two, make room in the closet and dresser so they do not need to live out of a suitcase.
Make the guest bedroom and bathroom a home away from home. Freshen and fluff sheets, blankets, pillows and towels. Stock the bathroom with shampoo, lotion, soap, tissues, toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant and other personal hygiene products. You don’t need to create your own Costco, but someone always forgets something and it’s nice to not have to run out at 10:00 p.m. Keep plenty of sunscreen on hand for those who think they will go outside for “just a little sun.”
For the kids, it’s sofa city or the air mattress. Inflate the air mattress a week before they arrive to check for leaks. You will have time to fix or replace it before they arrive. Arizona’s dry climate can wreak havoc on the plastic after only a couple of years. Again, you won’t want to run out to buy a new one when your exhausted guests arrive from a long drive or plane ride.
Stock the pantry
If you are like many families, everyone congregates in the kitchen. Keep the fridge and pantry stocked with fruits, veggies, and … oh, who are we kidding? It’s the holidays! Put out the treats, and the healthy stuff, too. If teenage boys will be there, buy more — much more than you think you will need. Keep an assortment of items that can easily be prepared or as a grab and go. Ask if anyone has food allergies before you shop. Keep antacids around for those who overindulge.
The white glove test
Taking care of the lawn is my “me time.” Maybe your “me time” is deep cleaning the house. If not, and you can afford the extra expense, treat yourself to a professional cleaning service before guests arrive. Hire them to do the nitty-gritty stuff like baseboards, grout, the gunk in between the appliances and counter, and heavy-duty dusting. You know your guests will be looking … and judging. Schedule a service after guests leave so you can enjoy downtime in a clean and organized environment.
“Rosie! What’s the Wi-Fi password?”
“Rosie! What channel is ‘Wheel of Fortune’ on?”
“Rosie, where is the nearest grocery store, drug store, coffee shop, etc.?”
“Rosie, how do I use this remote?”
Rosie, Rosie, Rosie.
Keep a notebook on the kitchen counter with the Wi-Fi password, instructions for the TV and cable, a list of channels and a list of places to go if you will not be with them (which after a couple of days, may be the greatest gift of all).
If you are comfortable, give guests a spare key so they can come and go as they please. If you have a home security system, create a pin number for each guest who will access the system. This will keep your pin secure, and you can track who is turning on/off the alarm. After they leave, disable their codes.
Inform guests before they arrive that you have pets. Remind them to bring medication if they have allergies. Provide a lint roller, or two. You may not mind pet hair on your clothes. Your guests, probably not. May I suggest clothes in the same color pallet as your pets’ hair? Secure your pets before guests arrive. Give both your pets and guests time to get acquainted. Confirm in advance whether they are bringing a pet.
Smoking or nonsmoking
If you are a nonsmoking household, provide an area outside for your guests who smoke or vape. A well-lit area, comfortable chairs, table and ashtrays will make them feel welcome and not an outcast. Some people who are sensitive to the smoke request their guests to spray their clothes with fabric refresher before re-entering the house.
We all have our breaking points when it comes to guests. When you can’t take the relatives anymore, let them have run of the house. Treat yourself to a holiday staycation. It may be the best gift you receive all season. Check out these accommodations at Visit Arizona.
Join Rosie on the House every Saturday morning from 7 to 11 a.m. on KTAR News 92.3 FM. If you’d like to send us questions or comments, email Info@RosieontheHouse.com. Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.