Christmas Nests for Guests
Christmas can ordinarily be the busiest time for welcoming friends and family to stay for a few days. We are all wondering just how different this year might be after everything we have gone through.
If gatherings are possible and likely to happen in your world, here are some helpful hints. After making the usual preparations in your guest rooms, why not add a few seasonal touches to make the room that little more festive. If you keep your guest bedding all white or have neutral tones, a festive throw and matching cushions will transform the look and add a seasonal splash of colour to plain duvet covers and pillowcases. Aside from your favourite stores, try achica.com for throws, cushions, bedding and seasonal home ware from early November onwards. Hang a stocking or two from the bedposts – and possibly place one of their Christmas gifts beside the pillows with a “Don’t Open ’til…” tag attached. Try to make the lighting work for the season with subtle electric lamplight and beautiful candlelit lanterns or hurricane lamps. Better this than naked flames and a risk of accidents. Try nordichouse.co.uk for a great array of lanterns. If lack of beds is a problem then aerobeds.co.uk offer a large range of comfortable, inflatable beds. They inflate quickly using an electric pump and have been designed for comfort and correct spinal alignment. For convenience, Aerobeds store away in a bag that’s the size of a large rucksack.
You may not wish to adorn every room in your house with Christmas decorations, but a tiny artificial tree, a cluster of Christmas baubles in a silver bowl or a small, thoughtfully grouped set of figures will take no time to put in place. This will add a special festive touch to your guest rooms. Fresh flowers or a red Poinsettia are always wonderful, but for added fragrance you might consider using a festive plug-in to create a Christmassy aroma in the room. Place a small organza bag of seasonal pot pourri under the pillows. And on the side table, leave a couple of bite-size Christmas books for guests to peruse. It might be a small poetry book or a collection of Christmas facts and trivia. You might consider leaving a Christmas postcard on the table outlining the breakfast choices that await them the following morning and the time it might be served. This is a gentle way of giving them a nudge in the direction of the time you rise and shine in your household. Lie in or no lie in – that is the question. For that final thoughtful touch, place a foil-wrapped Christmas chocolate on each pillow.
Christmas in the Bathroom
In addition to your usual towels, add a decorative hand towel embellished with snowflakes or seasonal characters. Most large high street stores bring out a range of hand towels, face cloths and tea towels at this time. John Lewis and Marks & Spencer have pleasing selections. Consider using rolled up face cloths at the side of the hand basin to serve as hand towels in the guest cloakroom. This provides a fresh towel for each guest instead of everyone sharing one hand towel. It keeps germs at bay as well. A smart waste paper bin should be provided under the hand basin for used towels. It is always a good idea to swap the regular hand washes and soaps in bathrooms for something a little more seasonal. Look to your favourite high street retailer for frankincense & myrrh or Christmas spice fragrances. Such brands as Kenneth Turner, Neom and The White Company offer a fine range of soaps, washes, room sprays and diffusers. And how about some festive loo roll? Now that really is going the extra mile for guests.
Elf Helper: You could try Habitat as a possible one-stop solution for your guest comforts. Visit habitat.co.uk for a selection of sofa beds, bed linen, cushions and towels.
Shower Schedules, Temperature, Privacy and Provisions
There is so much to consider when accommodating guests, assuming you want them to have a pleasant stay of course. Here are a few more issues to ponder:
Discuss Shower Schedules: this is especially important if you have just one shower or bath. Remember to keep the hot water topped up.
Keep an Eye on the Thermostat: Older relatives may feel the cold, so make sure you’re keeping across the room temperature. Even if you prefer it cooler, put your guests’ needs first or at least strike a compromise.
Respect Privacy: If you have been kind enough to turn over your bedroom to guests, also be courteous enough to knock on the door before entering if you’re going in search of that certain item from your wardrobe or drawers. If they are not in the room and you want to enter, try to let them know. Gran could be ‘hiding’ your present in there in full view. If you don’t want to have your favourite, expensive face cream or conditioning shampoo used by guests make sure you put them away or keep them in your toiletry bag.
Provisions: Stock your fridge and cupboards with snacks and drinks and make them freely available. It can be frustrating feeling you need to be invited to have a cup of tea, a glass of juice or a slice of cake every single time thirst or hunger strikes. Buy things you know others might like, even if you don’t eat or drink those items yourself.
Routine with Children: Hard as it might be to keep your baby or children in a routine during the festivities, you will doubtless want to try. Noisy or boisterous guests might not help matters. But they won’t know there’s a potential problem unless you tell them. Discuss nap times, feed times and bed times and consideration from guests might just be forthcoming.
Make Space for Clothes: Help your guests feel more at home by making space in wardrobes, closets or drawers for their clothes and belongings. A possible alternative is a hat stand from which to hook garments on hangers.