The holidays are right around the corner! Which means I will have a house full of guests; family from far and near, and maybe even a few long lost friends. Although our children all live in our area, many of our friends have children scattered across the country, so for them, the holidays are a time when everyone comes “home”.
Every year we have a new wave of movies about holidays and family – some are comedies about a family’s quirks, but many are stories about the challenges of trying to survive a few days with your family! I am so glad that is not the case with our family (well…at least I think everyone is happy to be together … and maybe it helps that everyone gets to go back to their own home at night if they want!). For my friends who will have overnight guests during this time, making them feel at home is very important. It’s just too bad the having guests overnight comes at the time of year when we are rushing around in the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, holiday parties, and holiday get-togethers! Just the preparation for it all wears me out! So glad I opened my Afena Christmas Club account and made regular deposits throughout the year so at least I am not struggling to find money for holiday shopping!
If you are one of the lucky ones whose kids are coming “home” for the holidays, I’m sure you will find a bit of time to freshen up the guest room and bake some special goodies for your loved ones, right? Or maybe not? One friend says “who are you kidding? …freshen up the guest room … HA!” Lisa tells me her guest room does not get touched for 11 months out of the year, so for her it is a little more than “freshening up”! And my friend Lori says the guest room at her house is also the junk room where you stash “all the things you don’t know what to do with, probably should get rid of, have no idea what you will ever need them for, but for some unknown reason are keeping for a bit longer”. (Lori is lots of fun!) But do we all do that “hanging onto for a while” thing? My husband is a true pack rat, but I will tell you about that another time.
In addition to the basic cleaning of the guest room, my friends take extra steps to ensure the guest room will have a “homey” feel for their guests. Freshly-washed windows and clean, crisp, coordinated linens add an inviting feel, and having both fluffy and flat pillows ensures that your guests can lay their head on their pillow and be right at home.
If guests are staying for an extended visit, having some drawer and closet space as well as clear dresser tops will allow them to put their things away for their stay rather than living out of a suitcase. Lisa told me that when she decided to clear some closet space for her guests, she found two jackets she had looked for since last spring, and several coats she would not be caught dead in! So one of the added benefits to having overnight guests – you find things you thought you had lost and things you definitely should lose.
My “Suzie Homemaker” friend, Marci, actually goes a few steps further and makes sure her guest room is stocked with extra blankets, a reading light, night lights in both bedroom and bathroom, and a nice occasional chair. A basket on the nightstand with reading materials like magazines or puzzle game books is another touch she adds, along with some bottles of water and travel size toiletries. She also purchased a couple of comfy gender-neutral robes and slippers to have in the guest room. She says these things are often overlooked in the rush of packing, but having them there for your guests allows them to come to the kitchen for a late-night snack or cup of hot chocolate after getting into their jammies. Oh to be like Marci! She is so thoughtful. As for me, if my guests get a tidy room and clean sheets I feel like I have really accomplished something. And I have discovered picking up a flower bouquet at the grocery and slipping it into a vase gives the illusion that I have a little bit of “Suzie Homemaker” myself. Of course it is just an illusion … and once they open a closet door or a drawer the illusion is over … but it is still a nice gesture.
Well, time to begin the process of enticing my husband to get the Christmas tree and decorations from the attic and basement. I mentioned before that it will take some time, so maybe tonight I will fix the meatloaf he so enjoys and start the “nagging process” while it is baking … perhaps the aroma will be just the boost he needs!