’Tis the season for houseguests, and no one — neither homeowners nor the guests themselves — will want the experience of “the visit” to be anything less than memorable in a GOOD way. So we thought we would offer up some time-tested suggestions those on the hosting as well as those on the receiving ends might consider.
Opening your home to guests…
Without getting too Miss Manners on you, if you are the host, it’s good for you to think about how you might want to be treated when you visit someone else. Things like having a spare key made, being greeted by clean sheets (already applied to the guest bed instead of hauling them out at midnight and making up the bed in front of your bleary-eyed travelers) is always a good idea. And if your guest bed is an air mattress, it’s also prudent to make sure it tests out and isn’t losing air. Extra pillows and blankets are also thoughtful, since most people like more than one pillow each and their sleeping body temperatures may differ from your own.
If your guests have access to a closet and/or a dresser, why not make space in them by at least temporarily moving out items and storing them somewhere else for a few days during their visit — even if it’s your kid’s bedroom they are occupying? Add a few hangers, and you’ve made a welcoming hotel-like experience for them, enabling them to empty their bags and feel at home for a while.
Toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, soap, Q-Tips, and toothpaste in a small basket you can whip out each time someone visits is a great way to welcome guests to the bathroom they may be using. Offering your guests a different-looking set of spare towels they won’t be sharing with the rest of the family is considerate as well.
Guests don’t always rise the same time you do, even though the ideal is to be up before they are. For that reason, some handy breakfast items may be in order especially if you made that “mi casa es su casa” statement when they arrived. Orange juice, fruit, granola, muffins, bread, butter and jelly for toast — all are appreciated by those earlier risers.
And if you will be working or away part or much of the time your guests are visiting, take the time to leave important phone numbers and write down household instructions about how things work — the security system, the remote for the TV or sound systems, and especially instructions for the Nespresso machine.
Being a great guest also take some thought …
Togetherness has its limits, and if you’re the guest, you don’t want to push them. First of all, don’t expect your hosts to drop everything because of your visit. After all, you may be on vacation, but your host may not be, so expecting a daily tour guide may not be the most thoughtful way to treat them. Especially if your hosts will be working, dropping off kids at school, etc., be mindful that they may need some downtime. Self-sufficient houseguests know which sights they want to see, have done their research on which restaurants they want to try and aren’t afraid to Uber it. In other words, they take responsibility for their own vacation, especially if hosts are busy. This may be despite their hosts’ wish to show you around but simply not possessing the bandwidth to do so.
Are you aware that host(ess) gifts never went out of style? Chances are good that your hosts went out of their way to prepare for your arrival by cleaning the house, laundering extra sheets, and buying the granola you like for breakfast. The least you can do is show up with a bottle of wine or a scented candle. Even if your intent is to take them out for a meal sometime during your visit to show your appreciation, you shouldn’t show up empty-handed.
It’s not terribly thoughtful to make demands regarding your personal dietary restrictions, either. Your diet is your business, so if you aren’t prepared to eat what’s served, ask where the nearest supermarket is and go pick up the things that you will eat, assuring them it has nothing to do with how delicious or delightful their food is.
Other good manners include never assuming your host will clean up after you. Make your own bed, wash out your own coffee cup, and offer to help with meal prep. Your hosts may politely push you aside using humor, but it’s never a bad idea to offer. Being the most gracious guest possible also means never opening drawers and helping yourself to food unless otherwise instructed, using your host’s phone or computer or big screen TV without asking, or borrowing the host’s car and returning it on empty.
Common sense and the “golden rule” are key to making your visit a happy one. Most of all, don’t push your expiration date. Just because you’re having such a good time doesn’t mean they want you there longer than originally agreed. Good manners on their part may make you think it’s no big deal, but most of the time, it is.Source: Real Simple, Huffington Post, TBWS
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