Home for the holidays! That’s a recognizable and common saying because so many people travel far and wide to return to their roots and relatives. Which means your home may be full for the holidays if you’re playing host or hostess for travelers. It can be a joyful experience, although not without its stresses. This post will instead focus on a few preparations you can make to ensure a fun and lighthearted experience for all.
Dress up your home: Guests will appreciate walking into an environment that looks, feels, and smells like Christmas. Candles, Nativity sets, twinkling lights, stockings, ornaments! Keep the environment peaceful rather than overwhelming, but hosting relatives during Christmas time is a great excuse to bring out all your best and favorite holiday decor. It sets the stage for memories and the building of tradition.
Incorporate others’ holiday traditions: Offer to hang stockings from your guests’ homes. Take music requests. Use your computer to Skype other sides of the family. Invite new holiday dishes to your table. Be willing to rise early on Christmas Day if children are your guests. Be mindful that it can be hard to be away from your own home during the holidays. Maybe you are even hosting in-laws who are away from their families of origin. It can feel “more” like Christmas to folks if one or two of their favorite Christmas elements come into play.
Entertain the little ones: If you expect to host children, you want to have items at the ready for their entertainment. A plush Nativity set is a good choice. Most kids haven’t played with a plush Nativity set, so it will be novel and unique. It is also ideal for a wide range of ages and helps weave Jesus into the season, even for the smallest guests. In addition to the plush Nativity set, consider books and a game or two. Sure, you’ll be a hit with the kids, but mom and dad will so appreciate the reprieve gained when their child is occupied.
Create separate spaces: Togetherness is wonderful, especially at Christmastime. But if you will have guests for more than a night or two, try to find a few places in your home that could serve as a retreat. Tensions remain at bay when people are able to take a break from one another. A den that is unoccupied is always nice but, if space is limited, even a windowseat or a comfy chair arranged in a hallway corner can work. Offer your guests options for getting away as well (local coffee shops, movie theaters, or places to take a winter stroll).
Small gestures of comfort: A few magazines at the bedside table, a nightlight in the kids’ room, or a favorite beverage stocked in the fridge - these are things that really make your home feel like “home for the holidays.”
Relax: There is nothing more awkward for house guests than a stressed out host or hostess. Take care of yourself! If you like to sleep in, do so. If working out is your release, don’t hesitate to take an hour to go to the gym. Let others run errands or handle the dishes. Sit down and enjoy having your home filled with love on the holidays.
Deck the halls!