Hostess with the Mostess: the Overnight Guest
A couple of weeks ago while in Ponchatoula for Pop’s funeral, my cousin and faithful commenter Jan and I had a discussion about how to be a great hostess, for both overnight guests and folks who just stop in for an afternoon visit. I referenced the preparation I did for the weekend stay of 15 of our closest friends, but that was epic prep. She wanted to know what tips I had for just a few weekend visitors, even family members who will love us despite our lack of hosting skills.
I tried to rattle off some things I like to do for our guests, but I realized it was more than I thought. It turned into a lively — and educating — convo, and I thought you also might like to see what we talked about. (I’m sure Jan will comment on more ideas!)
- I like to provide lots of towels and pillows. Some people are super persnickety about pillows and towels, so the bigger the variety, the more comfortable your guests are.
- My mom commented once that I didn’t have a mirror or a trashcan in the bedroom. I fixed this immediately.
- Jan suggested bottled water and even a few snacks. I loooove the bottled water idea, especially if the bedroom is located a far distance from the kitchen.
- I love fresh flowers, even in a Mason jar or small vase. It adds just a little bit to the feel of the room.
- Extra blankets, regardless of the season. We like it cold at night, but some people don’t. Blankets are the compromise.
- The bathroom should be stacked with convenience toiletry items, in case your guest forgets her toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, face wash, razor (!!), dental floss, powder, lotion, bobby pins and hair ties.
- My friend Mary has a closet of all necessities very close to the bathroom, where there is a box just for medicine. Perfect for when you don’t want to reveal to your host that their dinner gave you indigestion, there’s Pepto Bismal (and other medicine) nearby to remedy the ailment discretely. (Don’t worry, Mary. I love your chili!)
- A few books or magazines are fun to have on the nightstand, waiting for your guest. Jan likes getting the most recent “Us Weekly,” and I have a few books of short stories in my upstairs guest room.
- A place to put a suitcase… a chair or small table would be just fine.
- Pictures! This might sound weird, but photographs and other personal art make the guest feel welcomed, included, and warm. Bare, generic walls are for the Holiday Inn!
- Kleenex! This was another one of my mom’s requests, and it’s a simple but nice touch.
These are just some things that I do (and not all of them happen for every guest… just when I’m feeling super energetic). Also, don’t think I expect these things when I come to visit (my hope is to not be black-listed from home visits). But, these are just some things I’ve learned along the way after hosting in our home in the seven years of marriage.
Do you have more ideas? Please share!
Check back later on this week… I’ll have more ideas for food and other pop-in-during-the-afternoon visit suggestions.