10 Things you should do before holiday houseguests arrive

At the holidays, you may have houseguests stay for a weekend, or even a few weeks. If you are hosting relatives or friends this year, prepare your home and your family for their arrival with these helpful tips:

family eating christmas dinner

1Declutter your home

With a few extra people in your home, you are going to need some additional room. It’s time to declutter and create some much needed space. Your living room, family room, and other common rooms used for entertaining should be free of any furniture that you won’t use. Old magazines, newspapers, mail, and other items should be sorted and recycled or discarded. Get several storage bins or extra shelving if necessary to declutter your home.

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2Spring cleaning for the holidays

Even though it’s not spring, before the holidays is a terrific time to do some spring cleaning. Plan ahead and clean one room at a time in the weeks preceding the arrival of your guests. Or better yet, hire a maid service to clean your home from top to bottom.

Read more about organizing and cleaning your home >>

3Do house repairs

If your family has been dealing with a drippy faucet, squeaky door, or broken steps you should get these things taken care of before your guests arrive. A few small house repairs and improvements can make your home safer and more comfortable for your holiday houseguests.

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4Childproof your home

If babies or children are among your houseguests, it’s time to do some simple childproofing: keep all cleaning products, knives, medications, and other potential hazards in a locked cabinet or out of reach; add outlet covers to your electrical sockets and put sleeves on doorknobs to keep young kids out of dangerous areas; add a baby gate, install window safety locks, and secure blind cords; and, be sure your swimming pool is fenced in, and that all other hazards are removed from your yard.

Learn more home safety tips for the holidays >>

5Prepare the guest room

If your guest room is rarely used, it’s time for some heavy duty cleaning. Make sure all the bedding is fresh, vacuum the floor (don’t forget under the bed), and make space in the closet for your guests’ clothes. Provide clean towels and supplies in the bathroom and let them know where to find more. Make the room cozy with a sitting area, if possible. This will allow them to read, use the computer, and lounge in private.

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6Cook ahead

Who wants to spend all your time in the kitchen when you have houseguests? Cook ahead and freeze some meals for dinner. Also, make sure your pantry and kitchen are stocked with staple items. Keep breakfast simple (cereal, granola and yogurt, or fresh fruit). Lunch can be sandwiches and salads. Keep in mind that your guests will probably want to go out to local restaurants for some meals as well.

Check out these make-ahead meals to fix and freeze >>

7Lay down the ground rules

If your guests are staying for an extended period of time, you may want to communicate some ground rules before their arrival. Of course, this should be in a lighthearted, pleasant way. Let them know if you don’t want smoking in your home and inform them of where they can go to smoke. Tell them about your regular schedule for showers, meals, and other routines. If you don’t allow shoes on the carpet in your home, let them know before they arrive, or provide slippers.

Read on to learn more ways to prepare for a houseguest >>


You don’t want to be hanging Christmas lights and setting up displays while your guests are in town. Prepare by decorating a little early. Keep things simple and elegant to avoid cluttering up your home.

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9Check the itinerary

The day before your guests arrive, double check their itinerary, particularly if you need to pick them up from the airport. If they are staying for more than a weekend, recommend a rental car (unless you don’t mind driving them every time they need to go anywhere). Get your own car washed and tuned up, if necessary.

Find out more about getting your house ready for entertaining >>


Although entertaining guests can be stressful at the holidays, it can be a lot of fun too. Relax and de-stress a bit before their arrival. Get a massage, do pilates, and get some “me” time in before it’s too late.

Say goodbye to holiday stress >>

Holiday inspiration

Christmas lights gone wild!

This display was the work of Carson Williams an electrical engineer from Mason, Ohio,. The lights are programmed and synchronized to turn on and off with music using a computer application and set of controllers. This 2004 display is set to the the track “Wizards in Winter” by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

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