Entertaining for the holidays can be a challenge – dare we say headache? The trick is to plan ahead and keep things simple with easy touches. Here's how.
Keep everyone toasty and encourage some outdoor activity. It's easier when you have extra cold-weather essentials on hand. This way, no one will ever feel cooped up – and a stroll after all those sweet indulgences keeps the waistline in check, too.
There's nothing quite like fluffy towels or a plush robe and a basket filled with toiletries to make your friends and family feel pampered and well-attended-to during their stay. Include a sea sponge or sugar body scrub and a mini bottle of bath oil to let your guests know they can enjoy a leisurely bath.
Turn your guest bedroom into a hotel suite. Choose fine linens for the bed and a cosy duvet, and add a quilt or a soft throw draped across the foot of the bed for layering. Plump up the luxe factor with extra pillows. Set out a lovely scented candle or two on the night-tables and a few wrapped truffles on the pillows (if you can resist eating them yourself). Sweet dreams!
Look at guests coming as a chance to tidy up and re-organize. Replace any clutter on the bedside table with a glass and a pitcher of water, an alarm clock, perhaps a vase of fresh flowers or seasonal greens, and a selection of reading materials. The closet can be made guest-ready with an edit of clothing or removal of that donation bag shoved in the corner. Provide extra hangers and an empty drawer in a dresser so guests can put away their clothes. It'll make the room feel homey and will be very appreciated.
Hosts may organize the main meals, but snacks for guests can be more of a leisurely DIY affair. Bowls of nuts and dried fruit (or M&Ms, please!) can be positioned in rooms, and you can set up a snack bar with fruit, breads and beverages in the kitchen or dining room to encourage the self-serve snack or breakfast.
Stage your big welcome, since it's your show! Before guests arrive, light a fire in the fireplace, if you have one, and turn on the Christmas tree lights, or other decorative lights you may have. Put out a tray of freshly baked cookies and cups for festive mulled wine, heating gently on the stovetop. Add a guestbook to your front hall table for a special way to invite your friends and family to write a holiday message. Now make merry!
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