Since the holiday season is just about here and many of us will soon be staying as overnight guests in the homes of our friends and family, I wanted to bring you a few of my favorite tips for being the perfect holiday guest!
So when you head over to stay with those in your life who are so generous to put you up for a few days, here are some things to keep in mind…
Provide your host with your itinerary. It is polite to let your hosts know when to expect you to arrive and depart and when you will be coming and going.
Because your host is going to a lot of trouble to prepare for your visit, arrive when you said you would. Other than unexpected travel delays that you can’t control, be mindful of your hosts schedule, dinner preparations or other events that a late arrival might interfere with.
Ask your host if they have plans or events they need to attend while you are there. Be considerate…offer to drive them for shopping excursions or errands so they won’t have to park in busy holiday traffic. If the host will be out for a while, make arrangements to do something on your own so your host won’t feel bad leaving you.
Plan things out of the house so your host can get some time to themselves…movies, shopping or other activities that take at least a couple of hours are a good idea
Plan for your own transportation while you are in town if possible so your host doesn’t have to be your chauffeur.
Have flowers delivered to your hosts home before you arrive or after you leave.
You’re not at a hotel, clean up after yourself. If you are staying for a while, even launder your own towels and sheets. Keeping up with a house full of laundry can be a huge job.
Offer to pay for expenses while you are there–if you don’t think they will take the money, stock up on groceries and softdrinks for your host. If you are staying for an extended period or have a large family traveling with you, you can send money the week before you arrive to lessen the expenses for your gracious host.
Their house may look perfectly organized when you arrive but not so much after you leave! Pay for a cleaning lady to get things back in shape. Arrange it with your host’s regular cleaning service. If they don’t have one, hire a reputable service and send it as a gift certificate so your host can schedule them when convenient.
Will work for room? Plan ahead with your host and let them know that you are doing the cooking one night or just get up early and cook breakfast one day. Anything that takes stress off your host will make them feel special and glad you are visiting. You can even get out the good china as long as you wash it and put it away after dinner.
Not a great cook? Then pay for a baby sitter for all of the kids one night and take your host out to an adults only dinner.
Bring activities for your kids and the host’s kids…games, crafts, cookie kits….it will keep them busy so your host doesn’t have to figure out how to entertain them. You can even plan for one activity for each day you will be staying.
Bring a hostess gift. It doesn’t have to be expensive to be thoughtful. A nice bottle of wine, a set of decorative hand soaps, a candle, or a gift certificate for a massage or pedicure are all gifts that are personal and the host will likely enjoy.
And remember, you don’t have to take all of these suggestions on one trip, especially if your budget doesn’t allow. But be especially attentive to the gestures that are free, like cleaning up after yourself. It will ensure that you don’t overstay your welcome.
PS. Select photos above are from the new issue of Rue Magazine. Be sure to see all the lovely photos and ideas in gorgeous Volume 2.