BY MIMI GREENWOOD KNIGHT
Some people are natural-born hosts, gifted at making guests feel relaxed and welcome. For years, I wasn’t one of them. But these simple strategies have helped take the stress out of overnight hosting for me. They might work for you, too.
Make It About Them
The key to being a great host — whether it’s for one night or an extended visit — is to make it less about you and more about the people you’re hosting. Consider their feelings, needs, and the way you’d like them to feel while they’re with you. Then, relax and let your guests be part of your world.
Make Your Home Inviting
Look at your home as if you’re a visitor. Is it welcoming? Let the anticipation of guests be the jumpstart you need to declutter, make small repairs you’ve been avoiding, and do a little redecorating. Nothing major. A few new throw pillows can go a long way. Then, do some deep cleaning to get the place looking and smelling great.
Stock the Pantry
Inquire about what your guests like to eat for breakfast and what they like to drink. Do they have food restrictions? If you plan to eat out a lot, while they’re with you, you’ll still want to have snacks on hand to grab and go between meals.
Plan Something Fun
While you don’t want to over schedule and leave no time for catching up, plan a few fun outings. Visit local attractions. What does your area offer that they don’t have at home? Take them to your favorite restaurant. Host a dinner party or open house while they’re with you to introduce them to your friends.
Remember the Kids
If your guests are bringing their kids, be sure to plan something for them. If you don’t have kids yourself, buy or borrow some age-appropriate games or the supplies for an easy craft. If you’ll be going out without the kids, vet a few local babysitters or call in a favor from another friend to watch them.
Make the Bedroom Inviting
Make sure you have nice, clean sheets, attractive throw pillows, and extra blankets in the guest room. If you haven’t had an overnight guest in a while, rewash the sheets so they smell fresh, not stale. And you can’t go wrong with fresh flowers to brighten the room and make your guest feel pampered.
Set Out Some Magazines
Provide your guests with a collection of magazines that would interest them or a book of short stories or essays. It will give them something to read to fall asleep or in case they wake before you, in the morning.
Spruce Up the Bathroom
Splurge on some pretty new towels for your guest bath. Provide toiletries your guests may have forgotten, such as soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, unopened toothbrushes, disposable razors, lotion, and feminine hygiene items if your guest is a woman.
Above all else, relax and enjoy your guests. Let them know you like having them there sharing your world with you.