When I was growing up, my mom had a little plaque in the hallway that said “Guests, like fish, begin to stink after three days”. She had it posted in humor, but we could take this wisdom to heart. As the holiday’s approach, let’s prepare our spaces for guests so they feel welcome, and also prepare ourselves to be good guests so we don’t begin to “stink.”
Company Coming? Let’s have a few items around to help them. If they are coming by plane and have kids, can you borrow car seats? Do you have friends that have a few toys or a high chair to borrow? These items can make parents of small kids feel much more at ease. If the kids visiting are a bit older plan some fun activities to help pass the time. An excursion to a local attraction or a game night can be just the thing to create some great memories.
Now is the time to prepare your supplies. Stock up on paper products and spare toiletries. You don’t want to have to run to the store for toilet paper while company is visiting. Let’s also do a towel/linen count. Do you have enough towels, sheets, blankets and pillows? If not, you can invest in some or ask your guests to bring items like pillows and blankets. The other option is to borrow these items from a friend.
Lastly, review manners with your kids. Lay down the plan for the visit so there are fewer surprises and possible whining. Plus, a review of some basic manners like closing the door to the bathroom, not running around without clothes, etc. can help minimize some embarrassing moments for your guests.
Get Invited Back. If you will be the guest over the holidays, there are a few things you can do to be sure you’re invited back. Pack light is number one. You don’t want to take over someone’s home with all your family’s stuff. If you do have a lot of items, try to keep them put away. Ask the host where to put larger items, like a high chair. Some host will have a spot they would like it set up during meals or put away between meals.
Talk to your host about excursion opportunities and good times for excursions. An early November conversation can help both of you plan the agenda for the holiday visit. Keep in mind, you want to have time to visit but that needs to be balanced with enjoying the location and fending off boredom. If traveling with kids, remember a busy kid is a kid that gets in less trouble.
Help as much as possible. Plan/lead kids activities at the house. A good craft, that’s not messy, can occupy the children plus create great memories. Plan a trip to the grocery store to grab needed items and possibly some fresh flowers for the host. Make sure your kids are cleaning up after themselves. Wash towels, sweep the kitchen, make a meal, any of the items can help a host. As you leave, strip the beds and return spaces to their original state. When you arrive home, send a thank you note and possible gift.
Whether you’re a guest or host, remember to take care of yourself and your family. Eat well, provide healthy food options, keep the kids’ sleep routines if possible, take time for walks and to play outside.