If you’re having family over for dinner or overnight during the holiday season, it’s likely that you’ll have some children in your company. The first thing you can do is remove valuables and breakables from common areas. If smaller children under the age of 5 will be over, be sure you fully baby proof with the necessary cupboard locks and outlet plugs. The last thing you need to do is create a space where they are safe to play and fill it with fun things for them to do! Some suggestions are an art kit and large post-it note paper, a trunk full of dress up clothes, a microphone, and any necessary items they can create a show with, and movies acceptable for a wide age-range, a DVD player, TV, and comfy couch or bean bag chairs. Keeping blankets and pillows near is a great idea. Some kids will nap, even the older ones if they are tuckered out.
A cool way to entertain both the kids and the adults, is to provide them with disposable cameras to capture the memories of your get-together. Just like a wedding tradition, no one will know all the pictures taken and it will be a fun surprise once they are developed. After the season has passed, it will be a pleasant surprise your guests can receive via email.
If you have a guest room, replace the sheets with fresh ones. If you are providing air mattresses, test them beforehand. If at all possible, provide extra blankets and pillows for each guest in case they get cold or uncomfortable. Set out a spare towel for them on the bed, preferably one that’s a different color than your others so they know which is theirs. Have you kept toiletries from hotels before? Now is the time to place them neatly in the bathroom or on the towel on their bed. You can get really creative if you make a guest basket. Some suggestions for filling a guest basket include: travel toothpaste and toiletries, mini-bottles of wine, snack packs such as peanuts and trail mix or fruit, cheap house slippers, a loofah, different sized hand towels rolled neatly, and an eye mask. You can find all these things at your local Dollar Tree. A really cute idea to share your wifi password and any other pertinent instructions is to create a pretty printable on the computer and frame it on the wall of your guest space.
Inevitably, your guests will be hungry or thirsty during their stay, before and after dinner is served. One of the most uncomfortable things for guests are asking for food or feeling intrusive on your refrigerator, especially in the middle of the night for overnight guests. Preparing a small buffet of snacks and things to drink will give them a huge relief. Some things you might include are granola bars, muffins, cereal, fruit snacks, nuts, bottled water, sports drinks, juice, hot chocolate and apple cider packets. Be sure to provide a few plates and cups, preferably disposable. You can even provide a garbage beside the table. Be sure to let them know that milk and ice are available from the refrigerator and freezer.
For out of town guests, you can provide a list of fun things to do in your town or city. Be sure to include some of the local favorites, as well as the tourist attractions. Some things you may include are favorite coffee shops and restaurants, museums, nature preserves and parks, and any historic or supposedly haunted sites.