During the holidays, there is probably a good chance you'll either have guests in your home or be a guest in the home of a friend or family member. I thought I would share a few of my thoughts on being a guest and on being a host. Honestly, I was a little hesitant to post this because I'm no expert and I'm sure I have left out plenty of good ideas. Feel free to contribute your suggestions by way of a comment.
Tips for the short term house guest
When someone opens their home to guests it's not like staying in a hotel. There is no "maid" to clean up the bedroom and bathroom during and after your stay. Please show courtesy and appreciation by leaving the bedroom/bath in nice condition so that your hostess can "clean up" when he/she has the time and not be embarrassed in the mean time if other guests drop by for a visit.
Let your host know when you expect to arrive and depart. Keep them updated if plans change.
Consider bringing a gift. I never expect a hostess gift, but it's always a nice surprise when someone brings a little treat. Who doesn't like a present? If you want to pick up a bouquet as you swing by the grocery store, I'm sure your host will have a vase. :) My opinion is that it is not necessary every visit especially if it is family you see often. I also don't think it is necessary for a family gathering when you are contributing to the food and drinks.
Always offer to bring food/drinks. Even if your host is preparing the entire meal or says "no, I've got everything", most people have a drink of choice and there is always room for an appetizer or another small dessert. My sisters drink Pepsi, so they show up at a family gatherings with a case of Pepsi. And usually enough snacks that we aren't hungry by dinner time. :)
Offer to help - if your host is in the kitchen, ask if you can help. If they don't need/want assistance with food prep or clean up, sit down and visit while he/she works in the kitchen. It's kind of lonely in the kitchen all alone sometimes. Offer to pour a cup of coffee or a cold drink, because he/she has probably been too busy taking care of everyone else to prepare a drink for herself/himself.
Offer to take out the trash and recycling - it always piles up fast when there are extra people in the house.
Don't leave your belongings all over the house - keep them confined to the room where you are sleeping.
If you have children with you help them keep their belongings neat and bring along items to keep the children entertained during your stay.
Put your dishes in the dishwasher or sink, follow the lead of the host.
Tidy up the bathroom after showering or using the sink. It's a nice way to say thank you to the host and a courtesy to other house guests who may be sharing the space.
At the end of your stay ask your host if you should make up the bed or strip the sheets and put them in the laundry room.
At the end of your stay, take your towels from the bathroom to the laundry.
A few tips for the host/hostess
Put out some toiletries in the guest bath, travel size or hotel items are perfect! I always have extra toothbrushes in my guest bath also. Set the items out in a basket so your guests can find them easily.
Make the bed comfortable, provide a variety of blankets and pillows so your guest can have a comfortable sleep. A bedside lamp is also nice. My bookshelf is in the guest room so there's also reading material handy for visitors (although by the time we go to bed everyone is usually too tired to read!)
Prepare as much as possible BEFORE your guests arrive. You don't want to give the impression that your guests created a lot of extra work. I try to prepare as much as possible before guests arrive so I can relax and visit while they are in my home.
Please don't forget to leave your suggestions for guests and/or hosts in the comments.
Much Love & Laughter,