The holidays are filled with great expectations of connection and community, along with fears of potential chaos and stress.
The key to having a great experience is to begin with a great plan. Here are the “Rules for Survival” to organize your guests and create a smooth and enjoyable holiday for all.
“8 Tips for Holiday Guests”
Before the Guests Arrive
Send out a family newsletter telling family members the items you need them to bring. There are fewer surprises if you make clear your expectations to guests. Ask for people to state their special needs before arrival so everyone has a heads up. Allergies, medicines or anything out of the ordinary that may be needed for everyone to know.
- Post “Holiday Guest Rules.” On a bright sheet of paper list the rules for each room of your house to set expectations for everyone.
- Family Area. Place rules on a visible wall where they can be seen by everyone. Make sure everyone knows this room has an open door.
- Quiet Room. Designate a room in your home for using technology quietly, reading, crossword puzzles, etc. Then let guests know they can participate in quiet activities in this room.
- Activity Room. Tell guests where the televisions are located and post TV viewing rules, such as “R” rated movies after 9pm. Ask someone bring a laptop and headphones for the courtesy of others. Post rules for video game playing, too.
- Kitchen. Identify special foods that belong to guests with sticky notes, including those needed for dietary reasons. With so many people in your home, this will prevent arguments and misunderstandings about the refrigerator and pantry.
- Bathroom. Post bathroom rules and a separate sign-up sheet on the door.
- Showers. Ask guests to sign-up for showering time with a 10-minute courtesy limit. Offer everyone an opportunity to take care of business without dominating the facilities.
- Toilet Paper. Ask guests, in the rules, to replace toilet tissue and post where extra supplies are kept.
- Towels. Ask guests to use one towel for the week and tell them where you want the used towels placed.
- Bedrooms. Put the bedroom hospitality rules on the wall. Decide sleeping arrangements ahead of time, and post these on each room before guests arrive. This lessens anxiety for guests, knowing they have a “parking spot” for their visit.
- Bedrooms are assigned first for respect for age.
- The next deciding factor is the health of the guest.
- Parents deserve a respectful private place.
- Children are the most flexible in sleeping arrangements. Tell guests to bring sleeping bags or inflatable beds.
- Create private areas for naps during the day. You may want to create a doorknob hanger that says, “NAP IN PROGRESS”, for those wonderful afternoon naps after meals and between games and gab sessions.
- Events. Post a schedule of events in a central location and include a sign-up sheet for all who want to participate. This will ensure no stragglers are left behind, which could create bad feelings in the family. List all the events available during the weekend such as a trip to the grocery store, the zoo, the golf course, the movie theater, the mall, etc. Throughout it all, focus on the experience–that’s what everyone will remember.