Welcome Home! Making Your House Hospitable for Friends and Family

During the holidays—especially this year, after too many celebrations spent apart—we can safely look forward to parties, turkey dinners, endless trays of baked goods and spending time with family and friends.

Sure, hosting guests can be stressful, but remember, it’s the company of others and celebrating the joys of the season—not the symmetry of your Christmas tree or the consistency of your gravy—that’s most important. 

We’ve gathered some tips and tricks to make everyone who enters your home over the holidays feel comfortable, safe and welcome.

The Invitation
Here’s how to make sure everyone knows they’ll be safe, even before they arrive.

Because you’re asking them to a gathering, you’ll want to make sure all of your invited guest have been fully vaccinated. You don’t have to demand their QR code and ID, but it’s not rude to ask. If some of your invitees aren’t vaccinated, simply remind them that you’re
following CDC guidelines.

On the invite, let people know you’ve made sure everyone there will be double vaxxed. Have somebody stationed just inside your front
door with hand sanitizer. Let guests know that they may choose to wear a mask or not.

A Warm Welcome
You’ll want people to want to take off their coat and shoes and stay awhile! Here’s how to make your house especially inviting.

If your home has a fireplace, light it up! If you’ve got a wood-burning stove or fireplace, keep a good supply of logs and kindling handy beside the fireplace as well as enough stored elsewhere. For those of us with gas or even electric fireplaces, switch it on and enjoy the warmth and glow it offers.

Create warmth for your guests in the form of light and additional heat. Keep your home at a comfortable temperature so no one’s asking you to borrow some
woolly socks and a hoodie. You can always be a miser with your thermometer during the rest of the year! 

Because it gets dark so early in the day, guests will likely arrive when it’s dark outside. Leave all your outside lights on, turn on any extra outdoor holiday lights and leave some lamps on in rooms where people will congregate as they arrive. Then, invite everyone into the living room for a drink, some conversation, and to admire your tree.

Deck the House
Most of us use our decorations from year to year and have already developed a style and “look” that we like, but the following tips will also help make your home a holiday haven:

Use wreaths: The front door always looks more inviting with a wreath hung on it. They can also be hung over mirrors for an additional Christmassy effect.

Christmas tree: Place the star of the show in a room where there’s always lots of traffic and gatherings going on. If you have more than one tree, placing one that can be visible from the front window looks very welcoming.

Natural nativity: Decorations using natural elements are eternally on trend because Mother Nature has such a fine eye for design. Incorporate sprigs of holly leaves with berries, pieces of ivy and pinecones. These items are easy to find at local garden and craft stores—even at the dollar store. Hang some mistletoe for extra festive fun!

Snug as a Bug
If this winter is anything like they’re predicting, everyone will want to stay toasty. Keep the people warm!

Let’s hope the Farmer’s Almanac got it wrong this year, but if they didn’t, make sure your guests have easy access to throws in the living room and extra blankets in their bedroom if they’re staying the night (or nights).

If they are staying a while, keep some bottles of water handy for your guests, and in the bedroom, consider providing a clock radio, docking station or CD player with a selection of music, and a stack of books or magazines on a bedside table. And don’t forget to place fresh towels and soaps in the bathroom.

“Think about what you would appreciate if you were staying in someone else’s home,” advises Lydia Ordonez-Niles, longtime owner of Impressionable Gifts & Decor in Port Credit. “How about a pair of warm cozy slippers, or a lovely assortment of natural, small batch toiletries? It’s little touches like this that will make a visit feel extra special.”

By creating an atmosphere that’s comfortable for everyone in your home to enjoy, you’ll create lasting memories and continue to build the loving relationships you have with your friends and family. 

And isn’t that what the holidays are all about?

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