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How to Prepare Your Home for Holiday Guests

Zillow logo Zillow 11/13/2014 Kerrie Kelly
Allowing your guests to help will make them feel more welcome in your home. Source: Zillow Digs © Provided by Zillow Allowing your guests to help will make them feel more welcome in your home. Source: Zillow Digs

When friends or relatives are coming to visit for the holiday season, make their visit a pleasure by thinking ahead and offering them your gracious home. Fruit baskets and floral arrangements aren’t necessary — just a bit of thoughtfulness and good planning. The following steps will walk you through what you need to know to make your next hosting experience a great one for everyone.

Make sure breakfast items can be easily accessed. Source: TerraCotta Properties © Provided by Zillow Make sure breakfast items can be easily accessed. Source: TerraCotta Properties

Valet welcome

If parking in your neighborhood is limited, be sure to reserve your off-street spot for your guests. Go out ahead of time and track down a convenient street spot if you need to — just don’t make your guests spend their first moments at your place looking for a parking space.

A clean porch goes a long way in prepping your home. Source: © Provided by Zillow A clean porch goes a long way in prepping your home. Source:

Prep the porch

This area is the first thing guests see when visiting your home, so make sure it is well lit, freshly swept and outfitted with clean cushions and fresh plants.

Grab-and-go

Create a simple by keeping fresh fruit, breakfast cereals and other essentials together on the counter for early risers. Give guests a quick kitchen tour the night before so they can get their morning coffee or tea without waiting for you in the morning.

If you want to set an extra-special table, adding a monogrammed mug and a small flower arrangement is lovely and doesn’t take much extra effort.

Make it casual

Cleaning your home before guests arrive is a must; however, keeping the atmosphere around the house as close to normal as possible will help put guests at ease. Newspapers on the coffee table and a casual playlist in the background set the stage for relaxation.

A welcome basket is a nice touch in a guest room. Source: Lindsay Jackman. © Provided by Zillow A welcome basket is a nice touch in a guest room. Source: Lindsay Jackman.

Stock the essentials

Your doesn’t need to be outfitted like a four-star hotel, but certain basics should be in place to make your visitor comfortable. The essentials include fresh sheets, pillows and blankets on the bed, window coverings, a working light, bath towels, a wastebasket and a cleared shelf and hanging area in the closet.

Bonus items include a fan, iPod docking station, clock, hairdryer, snacks, mini toiletries such as razors, aspirin and hairspray, and a surge protector for charging devices.

Allow for downtime

It’s too easy to over-plan activities for holiday guests. Having a few tentative outings or other visitors on the agenda can be helpful, but avoid the urge to fill every last minute. Most guests will really appreciate some blocks of unstructured time to relax, chat, read, nap or even venture out on their own.

Jump right in

When dinnertime rolls around, feel free to have guests pitch in with a few simple tasks in the kitchen. Ask them to set the table, pour the wine, choose the music, or prep greens for a salad, and soon your visitors will be feeling right at home.

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