How to host guests at Christmas
Expecting visitors this Christmas? Get prepared with our tips for making guests feel at home
Whether it's stretched finances, a jam-packed social calendar, or just putting up with in-laws, Christmas can easily become one of the most stressful times of the year - and hosting guests can add to the strain, whether you're throwing a big party for friends or welcoming family to stay over the festive period.
Trying to make sure the house is clean and tidy, that the food is great, your Christmas tree is stylishly decorated and everyone is having a great time can be exhausting, so we're here to de-stress your Christmas and get you prepared to face the crowds.
Here are six ways to take the stress out of hosting. From quick cleaning tips to making your guests feel at home, here's everything you need to make this Christmas a special one.
Six tips for getting ready to host guests at Christmas
It's the first part of the house we'll walk into, but the porch and hallway are often overlooked, instead becoming a bit of a dumping ground. Start with your front door - buying a new one for Christmas is probably overkill, but you can easily glam up your existing front door on a budget. Why not add a jolly Christmas wreath or some outdoor decorations to get your guests in the festive spirit from the moment they arrive?
Tackle any pet odours
Our pets are part of the family, but the smell of wet dog or cat litter isn't going to be appreciated by visitors. Put your pet's bedding and soft toys through the wash, and give your four-legged friend a bath or a trip to the groomer before your guests arrive.
Refresh any soft furniture that's particularly appealing to your furry companion, such as a favourite chair or rug. Clean according to manufacturer's instructions, and add a spritz of fabric refresher.
Add a touch of luxury
One of the most luxurious parts of staying in an upmarket hotel is those fresh, fluffy towels, so why not give your guests the same treatment and have a freshly-laundered towel or two folded on the bed for them.
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Ensure your guests have access to any toiletries they might have forgotten to bring - and if you're in the habit of saving hotel miniatures, making your guests a cute parcel of mini shampoo and body wash is a cute touch.
Create a welcoming bedroom
We always want our guests to feel at home, and nowhere is that more important than the bedroom, where they will want to relax and get a sound night's sleep. Comfort is key, so leave an extra pillow and blanket somewhere where your visitors can grab them for a more comfortable sleep. And at this chilly time of year, a set of cosy winter bedding is a guaranteed winner!
Consider both aesthetic and practical needs - for instance, you can add a string or two of fairy lights to create a cosy vibe in your spare bedroom, but make sure you include a decent bedside lamp, too.
Check out our guide to preparing a guest bedroom for more ideas and tips on creating a welcoming ambience for overnight visitors.
Add a festive scent
Christmas evokes the smell of pine needles, mulled wine, or sweet treats baking in the oven. Of course, you can conjure up those atmospheric scents yourself in the kitchen - we think a batch of spiced honey cider or gingerbread soufflé would be especially magical - but you can get the same effect with zero effort by investing in a wintery scented candle. Just keep them out of reach of any inquisitive children or pets!
The finishing touch
As a final touch, treat your visitors to a small welcome gift to spread the festive spirit. For ideas, check out our guide to preparing a self-care gift package - one or two of the little treats on our list would make a perfect welcome for your guests!