Every year around this time, I post a blog like this one. Why? Because I’ve been caught in that position of having a houseful of people arriving in 24 hours and realizing I have 72 hours of work to do! If you’ve been there before, you know the following sequence: dread, denial, anger, apathy, wine, acceptance. But follow the tips below to be well prepared to put the “happy” back in your holiday season!

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Guest Checklist:

1. Do you have a space designated for guests to sleep? If not, determine now where your overnight guests should bunk to avoid last-minute shuffling that may make them feel like a burden.

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2. If you have a guest room, are the sheets fresh? How about nice extras like a local interest books or newer magazines? It’s also nice to have a clock in the room and maybe fresh flowers for special touch.

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3. Guest bath: Are fresh towels available? Do you have extra items people tend to forget when they travel? Place these items in a cute basket on the counter for easy access. Add special soaps or lotions for a special touch.

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4. Food and beverages? Now is a good time to watch for sales and stock up on bottled water, snack foods, soda, and coffee. Do any guests have food allergies? Find out early so you can accommodate anyone with special dietary needs. Again, the goal is to make everyone feel welcome and avoid them feeling that you’re going  to extra trouble for them.

5. If you are having your guests bunk on a blow-up mattress, make sure it’s working well with no leaks. Guaranteed, you will have a sinking feeling in the morning if you guests tell you that they had a mattress sinking experience the night before.

*Bonus Tip: To make guests feel extra special, prepare a little goodie bag or basket with some of their favorite things in it. Ideas: Magazines, bottled water, favorite candy or snack items. Doesn’t need to be big or fancy, the extra touch will let them know how special as you think they are.

My best advice for less stressful holiday visits is to simply do as much ahead of time as possible. Think through all the things you need to do, make a list and knock in out a few things at a time each week until holiday time. That way when your guests arrive, you’ll be free to enjoy your time together and not worry about anything other than having fun!

Now, what will you do next to love where you live?