Entertaining Houseguests During the Holidays
How to keep both you and your visitors cheery and satisfied
-Jan Fulcher, mylifecompass.com
Having overnight houseguests through the holidays presents unique challenges. In our minds we cherish the idea of the togetherness with our family and friends, yet the reality is that we feel the burden of orchestrating the entire event. The biggest gift you can give yourself and the best place to start as you strive to preserve your own spirit is to let go of the idea that you are to give everyone Christmas at your home. Be honest with your own expectations of how to host the holidays. Acknowledge that your guests are not expecting to be checking into a B&B or a Five Star hotel. This is your home and you are opening and sharing it with people important to you. Remember, they are coming to you to be with you.
Once you adjust your own expectations and thus relieve pressure on yourself, here are some easy guidelines for maintaining your energy, enthusiasm and holiday spirit:
Plan your menus for the meals that will be prepared at home. Try to give yourself breaks from both food prep and cleanup by planning excursions that will allow eating out a couple of times during the course of the visit. This is especially important if the visit is more than two days. The eating out can be inexpensive and a change from the traditional foods planned for home.
Plan the sleeping arrangements and what bedding and linens will be needed.
Welcoming treats are nice for each sleeping space such as bottled water, packages of favorite treats or fresh fruit. This helps to satisfy late night snackers suffering from jet lag or a bad case of the munchies.
Plan to lay out morning coffee/tea service that can be self-serve.
This allows you the freedom to take time for a morning workout or steal away some private time as well as your guests greet the day at their own pace.
Involve your guests in the cooking and clean-up.
(Before they arrive give your fridge a deep cleaning, that will help you feel more comfortable allowing everyone in the kitchen. I know this one sounds funny but it really makes a difference in your ability to relax. Everyone likes to be included in the preparation of the family favorites.
Depending on the group, save some of your last minute Christmas chores to share as a party.
Trim the tree together or have a gift-wrapping party, so that everyone can tie up loose ends together. This year, in particular, some families are opting for working together at group charity drives, toy shops and food drives followed by a family dinner back at home.
If you are comfortable with the idea, allow your guests to choose and prepare a meal without you. That is a great time for you to relax and enjoy your company. Again, it promotes a sense of belonging and engaged activity.
I think you see the idea becoming established. The point is, hostessing guests for the holidays can be about the intention and focus of the true meaning of the holidays WITHOUT sacrificing your own enjoyment. You truly can be present for the enlightenment, spiritual renewal and unadulterated fun that flourishes with this special time of year.
“Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart” – Washington Irving.