An invitation to stay with someone is a great honor. Your host wants you to be happy, to be comfortable and to feel welcome. If you’ll be a house-guest during the holidays here are eight easy tips to ensure you’re host will be dreaming you’ll be back again next year!
1. Arrive with a gift. Know your host. Don’t bring wine, if they don’t drink. Purchase something neutral like a tin of gourmet flavored popcorn, a holiday-scented candle or if you know they’re avid golfers, a box of top-notch golf balls. If you’re staying more than two nights, plan to treat them to a nice dinner at their favorite restaurant.
2. Lend a hand. Help in the kitchen. Volunteer to walk the dog. (Don’t forget the “doggie doo-doo baggies”….don’t want to make enemies in the neighborhood!) Wash any dishes you’ve used or put them in the dishwasher. Keep common areas (like the bathroom) neat and tidy.
3. Be considerate of their work schedule. It may not be their vacation time. Although they are happy to have you stay, remember not to keep them up too late, and don’t expect them to take time off to be your tour guide or babysitter.
4. Ask about house rules: “Do you put your knifes in the dishwasher?” And don’t just show up with your pet. Ask first! That even includes checking with family members if it’s convenient to bring an animal to their home. Sometimes it’s just not a good time to have Rover at a family gathering.
5. If you’re on a special diet, bring the groceries you need. It’s always good manners to supply a few snacks or something special you’ve baked. (You know you’re from the South if you stop at a fruit stand and buy a “lug” of peaches or tomatoes to divvy up!) If you have a preference for soaps and toiletries, pack them.
6. If you have babies or children … please don’t take a “vacation” from parenting. Get up with them in the mornings! Entertain them and keep them as quiet as possible until everyone else in the house wakes up. Don’t expect the “older” children or your host to “babysit” them. Grandparents might be an exception, but ask, be sure to clarify expectations. Keep an eye on your children and help them understand the “house rules.”
7. When departing, straighten the bedroom and bathroom. Ask if your host would like you to strip the bed. If so, leave the sheets in a pile or take them to the laundry room. Any towels or washcloths you used should be included in the pile or in the laundry room.
8. Send a handwritten thank you note once you are home. People often underestimate what a host goes through to have guests for a few days or longer. It takes a lot of time, money and energy, even if it is a joyous experience! Express your gratitude with a note!
May your Christmas and New Year be full of joy!
Kathryn Barker has never met a child, a tea, or a baby animal she didn’t love. With her sweet husband of 43 years, she has raised three extraordinary children, doctored all manner of farm animal, driven a team of horses, made soap, spun wool and opened a tea room. An avid photographer, Kathryn has had tea in a ger in Mongolia, viewed the Three Gorges Dam in China and waved to the Queen of England. She maintains a tea booth at the Oregon St. Antique Mall. Visit her at tea4kate.com or on Facebook and Twitter at tea4kate.