Mi Casa es Su Casa — Being Hospitable to House Guests
What a wonderful thing it is to have friends and family come to stay in your home. Well, as long as they don’t stay too long! 😉 In anticipation of having one of my dearest friends come for a stay in August, I thought I would write a little bit about the importance of making your guests feel welcome. Guests should never feel like an inconvenience to you. If they are staying with you, it is highly likely that this is a person or persons that you care about. Making sure that they are comfortable and feel at home is a way of extending that kindness to this person. Regardless of how much you might love a person, it can sometimes be difficult to share your space with them. By making an effort to make them feel welcome, you are not only showing you care, but you’re also helping to avoid any potentially tense situations later on. No one ever likes to feel like they are a burden to another person. The great thing is that you can be hospitable and keep in mind the following tips, without putting yourself out.
- Make sure the areas in which the guest(s) will be staying is clean and orderly. If it is a room that you normally use for something else, make sure that you have anything that you need during their time with you out of that room prior to their arrival so that you don’t need to disturb what will be their space for the duration of their time with you. Does the bed have clean linens and plenty of pillows? Do you have plenty of blankets set aside if it is a couch they are staying on?
- Also make sure that the bathroom they will be using is not only clean, but stocked with necessities. Are there extra rolls of toilet paper? Enough hand soap? Clean hand towel(s)? I actually have a couple friends that provide a basket of individual cloth hand towels that guests can use and then dispose of in a designated basket. It might make for a tad more laundry the next day, but each guest is able to use a fresh towel each time which cuts down on germ spreading and is just a lovely gesture of hospitality.
- Lay out fresh towels that your guests can use for showering and freshening up.
- We like to provide small toiletries for our guests. The ones shown in the picture above were from a hotel in Arizona that we stayed in and didn’t use. We also have a couple spare toothbrushes that we keep on hand just in case.
- If you have an actual guest room, leave a little space in the closet with some empty hangers and a couple drawers free. That way your guests can feel welcome to unpack a couple things and hang up any items they don’t want wrinkled. We also have a laundry basket for our guest to use if they desire.
- Find out what your guests habits are. Are they early or late risers? Do they drink coffee or tea in the morning? Do they have any food allergies or requirements? Try to accommodate these habits the best you can.
- Let your guests know any “quirks” of your home. Does the shower only work a certain way? Is the thermostat temperamental? Does a door stick or not lock?
- Leave a light on. When someone is staying in a strange place, it is nice to have a light left on that will help them become oriented if they need to use the restroom in the middle of the night or get a glass of water. Make sure it is a light that will be helpful but also not distract them (or anyone else in the household) from sleeping, etc.
- Fresh flowers always make a person feel welcome. A couple blossoms in the room they are staying helps in showing that you are happy that they are there.
- Candles. In addition to flowers, a lit candle or two can make any space inviting.
- Provide a small token of welcome. This could be as simple as baking some cookies or providing them with some homemade preserves. If they are staying with you because they are helping you with something in your life (a birth, a marriage, a large house project, etc), you may want to provide them with a gift of gratitude upon their arrival.
- If your guests will be staying for a longer period of time, provide them with a map of the area, guide books, points of interest, etc. This should be done especially if they have never been to your city and if they will be having “down time” while you are at work or doing other things. Your local visitors center is a great resource for this. Cater the information that you provide to what your guests like. Are they outdoorsy? Find some local hiking trails. Love museums? See what exhibits are currently being shown.
Hospitality is highly underrated. A little can go along way in showing someone you appreciate them. And what better reward is there in life than to brighten someone’s day!