Welcome Home – The art of welcoming overnight guests for the holidays

During the holidays we can look forward to parties, turkey dinners, endless trays of baked goods and spending time with family and friends.  Hosting guests can be stressful for some, but remember it’s the company of others and celebrating the joys of the season that’s most important.  With the following tips and ideas in mind, we hope you’ll be able to make everyone who enters your home feel comfortable and welcome.

Out & About
Gather a list of events that are happening in your community during the time your guests will be with you and tailor it accordingly.  See our list of Community Events elsewhere in this issue of Look Local or refer to our Community Events calendar online.  There is so much to see and do at this time of year, and why not show off this great community we live in?   Your guests will enjoy getting out of the house and so will you!

A Warm Welcome
If your home has a fireplace, light it up!  If you’ve got a wood-burning stove or fireplace, keep a good supply of logs and kindling handy beside the fireplace as well as enough stored elsewhere. For those of us with gas or even electric fireplaces, switch it on and enjoy the warmth and glow it offers.

Create warmth in the form of light and additional heat.  Keep your home at a comfortable temperature so guests don’t necessarily haveto grab wooly socks and sweaters.  You can always be a miser with your thermometer during the rest of the year!  Since it gets dark so early in the day, guests will likely arrive when it’s dark outside.  Leave the outside lights on, turn on any outdoor holiday lights and leave some lamps on in rooms where people will congregate as they arrive. Then, invite everyone into the living room for a drink, some conversation, and to admire your tree.

Deck the House
Most of us use our decorations from year to year and have already developed a style and “look” that we like, but the following tips will also help make your home a holiday haven:

Wreaths – The front door always looks more inviting with a wreath hung on it.  They could also be hung over mirrors for an additional Christmassy effect.

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Christmas tree – Place it in a room where there’s always lots of traffic and gatherings going on. If you have more than one tree, placing one that can be visible from the front window looks very welcoming.

Natural Nativity – Decorations made out of natural elements continue to be popular because Mother Nature has such a fine eye for design.  Incorporate sprigs of holly leaves with berries, pieces of ivy and pinecones.  These items are easy to find at local garden stores.  Hang some mistletoe for extra festive fun!

Snug as a Bug
If this winter is anything like the last, everyone will want to stay toasty.  Let’s hope the Farmer’s Almanac got it wrong this year, but if they didn’t make sure your guests have easy access to throws in the living room and extra blankets in their bedroom.  Have some bottles of water handy for guests in the bedroom, a clock radio, docking station or CD player with a selection of music, and a stack of books or magazines on a bedside table.  Don’t forget to place fresh towels and soaps in the bathroom.

By creating an atmosphere that’s comfortable for everyone in your home to enjoy, you’ll create lasting memories and build on loving relationships.  Happy Holidays!

By Becky Dumais

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