Having friends and family over for the holidays can be both an exciting and stressful experience. I love having guests but I certainly wasn't born a natural hostess. Taking care of additional people requires a little bit of footwork (if you want them to come back, that is).
I've welcomed a lot of people in my home in the past couple of years and have worked my way through plenty of mistakes and uh-oh moments. I've run out of toiletries, burned a meal, and been short on pillows. It's a good thing I'm a fast learner!
Here's a list of must have items before your holiday guests arrive.
Please keep at least one box of Kleenex or any other off brand facial tissue in your home. A relative of mine never buys it and only offers her guests paper towels. As a guest, it's a little uncomfortable to say the least.
Decorated tubs, like these adorable Kleenex Perfect Fit Holiday Canisters, keep your home looking festive. I keep one at every end table and in the vehicles' cup holders so we're never short on tissues!
2. Toilet Paper
This is embarrassing to list but oh-so essential if you're having guests over.
I once had a guest suffering from allergies who refused to use any of the Kleenex I owned and insisted on using tp only. Another time, a guest didn't care for the brand I had on hand and insisted I go out and buy another. Sure, these requests were a little odd to receive but we all want our visitors to be comfortable and happy. Prepare for the unexpected (and awkward!) and keep two different brands on hand, such as Cottonelle and Scott.
3. Paper Towels/Napkins
Spills and sticky surfaces are going to happen, even if you don't have little kids staying with you. Guests naturally gravitate towards a paper towel to wipe up a mess instead of grabbing your holiday towels on display. Viva paper towels are my favorite right now because they're super strong and can wipe up any amount of wine I've accidentally spilled.
4. Air Freshener/Candles
I try to mask the Clorox wipes and microwaved leftovers smell that usually graces our living area. I'm personally burning plenty of sugar cookie and other holiday candles right now. Walmart has some awesome Better Homes and Gardens candles that are less than $5. I've been using them for months now and have no complaints!
You know when you are a guest and your host says, "Raid the fridge at any hour! Help yourself!" (I love these people, by the way.) It's great to hear but how many of us actually sneak into the kitchen because we want a sandwich at midnight? I keep a cute basket of snacks out on display so that my guests stay full without having to check in with me.
Here are some of the items I always pick up when guests are coming over:
- water bottles
- fresh veggies
- fresh fruit
- deli meat
- cheese cubes
- applesauce pouches (for the kiddos)
I also keep a lot of easy recipes on hand so I can spend more time with my guests and less time slaving in the kitchen. Remember these 2 Ingredient BBQ Chicken Sandwiches? Easy and worry free!
6. Alcoholic Beverages
Does this really need a description? Hosting is always much easier when I have a glass of wine in my hand. If you have non-drinkers on your guest list, keep hot chocolate, apple cider, and other specialty drinks instead.
And while you're shopping in the food department, pick up a bag of ice. We all know that an ice cube tray only lasts for 3.42 seconds when you have people over.
7. Disinfectant Supplies
I once had a guest come down with the flu at my home during the holidays. It was terrible for both of us, trust me. Thankfully, I had plenty of disinfectant supplies like spray and wipes. I think I've said enough.
8. Spare Pillows/Blankets
Be sure to stock up on extra pillows and blankets if you're having more people over than your guest room can handle. We had littles camping out on the floor once and completely forgot to buy extra pillows. Thankfully, I'm addicted to buying decorative couch pillows so we had plenty of those. Kids are so forgiving but I felt so terrible!
The last thing your guests want is to be stuck in the shower only to realize there's no shampoo or soap!
My family and I travel a lot throughout the year and we always have some partially used shampoo or body wash bottles laying around. I hate to see things go to waste so I place them in a pretty, clear vase in the guest bathroom.
Here's a list of the things I make sure I have on hand in every bathroom, even if they're only in travel size:
- body wash
- bar soap
- nail file
- hand sanitizer
10. Back-Up Entertainment
Maybe the guests you're having are friends you've known for a decade or perhaps it's your new sister-in-law that you've only met once before. Either way, have some backup entertainment like board games and movies, just in case the conversation dies down.
11. Fresh Flowers
Last, but not least are the fresh flowers. They brighten up a room and say, "Look at your host! Isn't she so pulled together and organized?" Your guests will never know the bouquet was only $4.95 at your local Walmart or that you threw them in a vase 5 minutes before everyone arrived.
Whatever you do, don't panic about having people over. Nine times out of ten your guests will be understanding and gracious, regardless of what happens. Just relax and have a good time!
P.S. As you purchase these items, be sure to submit your receipts to the Ibotta app to get some cash rewards! If you've never used it before, you just enter your retailer's loyalty member phone/account number into the app. As you shop, Ibotta will search for rebates with that store and apply any credits to your account. Awesome! (Thank you, G, for sharing this app with me!)
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.