My mother would tell you that ever since I was a little girl, I loved making our home a peaceful place to be. I loved things to be tidy, I loved for the light of soft lamps to be on, I loved having relaxing music on, I loved seeing my mom’s face as she came into a room that I had worked to make feel calm and cozy. Now that I have a home of my own, I still love having my home be a place where people want to come and feel completely at ease. Since I have lived in many different places, all of which have been far from family, I have had the great opportunity to host numerous overnight guests. I have made hosting guests somewhat of a hobby. I absolutely LOVE pampering people that come stay with me. I have learned by experience that it takes a few tricks up your sleeve to host out of town guests and make it look easy…because let’s face it, it is a bit of a challenge. But with a few easy tips, and some foresight, you can pull it off and have everyone think you are magic by the end…wink wink…
1. Not everybody has a full fledged guest room, but make whatever space you have for your guests feel special. I always try to have fresh flowers by their bed, and some sort of a small gift or treat on their pillows. I get little hand lotions on sale and use those, specialty chocolates, or even a York Peppermint patty on each pillow is really cute.
2. Welcome sign: I know it seems silly but for our guests that come by plane my kids and I try to make a “Welcome to New York” or “Welcome to Texas” sign to hold up in the airport. My kids love it, and everybody loves a little extra attention right?
3. Plan your dinners. I always try to plan a meal for the day of their arrival that can keep or be reheated, so that I don’t have to worry about late flights, early arrivals etc. I LOVE a good soup and bread for a first night arrival meal. This is my favorite soup recipe. (**We have posted all of Rebecca's recipes in a separate post below this one so you can browse them all at the same time.) Also, remember that when people come visit your city they usually want to eat out a night or two at your favorite restaurants, so plan that in.
Depending on the length of the visit, I also plan one pizza night which makes for easy prep and clean up. I also try to have one meal already prepared in the freezer, such as chicken enchiladas or homemade lasagna. Cooking together is fun, but when you are off playing all day, it is nice to come home and throw something into the oven.
4. Lunch! I find that when people are in town we often grab a little something for lunch while we are out on the town. However I always stock up on some fun deli meats and cheeses before guests come. Get creative and get some fun ingredients for some jazzed up sandwiches: artichoke hearts, fresh basil, roasted red peppers, good quality bread from a bakery, or yummy bagels. Then, you can just throw together a quick sandwich that feels like it’s from a little bistro.
5. Make ahead Breakfasts: I love having a good hearty breakfast when people are at my house. This is my favorite make ahead muffin recipe that can last in the fridge for 4 weeks! It is delicious, and there is nothing better than the smell of fresh baked muffins. Also, here is a favorite recipe that I always make for guests that is always a winner called Baked Oatmeal. I bag all the dry ingredients beforehand then add the wet ingredients the morning of.
6. Snacks and drinks: I always have fun snacks on hand for movie nights, game nights, or whatever other occasion a snack is needed! I always have popcorn, fun sodas and I always make cookie dough ahead of time and refrigerate or freeze it in rolls.
7. Know when to go out, and when to stay in. Some guests are truly happy just hanging around the house, playing games, watching movies, going for walks around the neighborhood etc. Super Fine, Super Fun. However, some guests really want to see your city, so make sure you have some fun things scoped out to do. The Zoo, Botanical Gardens, Museums, Shopping, Plays or Musical Performances etc. I happen to live in a big city, so some of those things are novel to some of my guests. Just make sure you are not planning too much and just tiring everybody out. Especially if kids are involved…it will be a disaster.
8. Have a couple babysitters ready to go. Having a night out just the adults is SO much fun when people are in town, and if you leave getting a sitter until the last minute, it usually won’t happen so plan ahead on that one!
So Happy Hosting! I hope these couple tips will help ya plan ahead a little so those out of towners will feel pampered…and more importantly so you can all make amazing memories.
the happy hostess with her darling family
We'd love to hear any tips or thoughts you have
about being a gracious hostess -
things you like to do for guests in your home
or meaningful gestures you observed
as a guest in someone else's home.