5 tips to host family for the holidays

Having family come to stay is all part of the holiday fun. After all, this time of year is really all about spending as much time as possible with the people you love—and what better way to do that than to have them move in for a few days? To make sure that your holiday houseguests feel truly welcome in your home this year, follow these tips for being a perfect holiday host.

  • DIY kits of essentials. Shampoo. Deodorant. They’re everyday essentials, but when you’re packing for a long trip, they’re also the easiest things to overlook. Take the stress off your guests by providing extras of basic items like these. Find cute baskets at the thrift store or use containers you have lying around and create overnight kits with travel-sized shampoo and conditioner, a bar of body soap, a razor, mouthwash, toothpaste, floss and a toothbrush, perhaps a travel container of Advil, and anything else you think your guests might need during their stay.
  • Give them some space. When you’re a guest in someone’s home, you don’t actually want to feel like a guest. Open up some space in your abode to help out-of-towners feel like they belong. Start in the entryway, freeing up enough room for them to comfortably stash their snow boots and jackets. Then make sure you get any junk out of the guest room that you’ve just been storing there, or make space for their luggage in a closet or your own room if they’ll be sleeping in the living room.
  • Go grocery shopping. There’s nothing more awkward than staying at someone else’s home and having to bring your own snacks. Your house guests might even feel a little awkward asking for food in general. Make it obvious that snacks are always on the menu by quizzing them on their favorites, then stocking up on stuff they like and leaving the treats out in the open. This way, you’ll remove the weird element of them having to ask for your permission to grab a snack. You might also be planning a special menu for dinners while they’re in town, and this is the time to take requests for that, too.
  • Clean (and not all at once). Of course, long before your family arrives, you should make sure the apartment is spotless. Don’t put off cleaning until the morning before their flight gets in; you’ll be totally stressed out, and they’ll be able to tell. Instead, start cleaning about a week before, at least washing the guest room linens and setting out the extra towels. You can save tasks like wiping down the bathroom and kitchen until closer to their arrival.
  • Light candles. When your family walks into your apartment for the first time, you want it to smell like holiday cheer. So set your diffuser to emit something cinnamon-y and joyful, or light some holiday-themed candles right before your guests arrive. The extra effort might be enough to make them comfortable staying through New Year’s Eve (given that’s really your goal).