Get set to welcome guests
floor. Also install a mat in the tub itself.
If you’re thinking your elderly relative needs grab bars in the shower, have them stalled professionally. Avoid putting in the temporary, suctionbased ones, Mauldin says, because they don’t work and can be more dangerous than not having a bar there.
Make repairs for comfort
We’re in a weird period of the year when temperatures swing wildly outside. Have both the air-conditioning and the heater serviced, especially if it’s the system that’s in the part of the house that only gets used when guests stay there.
If you haven’t used the guest bath in a while, make sure it is functioning and doesn’t have leaks or other plumbing issues.
Make repairs for appearance
Guests can be a great reason to finally get the blemishes in your home fixed. Maybe it’s the cracked floor tile or the windowsill that the dog scratched. Start with the front door. Does it look like it’s seen better days? Mauldin says he can spend a couple of hours refinishing a front door to give the house a great first impression.
Also think about which rooms in the house need a fresh coat of paint, especially the guest bedroom.
Create a special sanctuary for guests
At Wildflower Organics at 908 N. Lamar Blvd. we learned how to give the guest bedroom a fresh look. Gray and white bedding adds sophistication, plus the white sheets feel clean and fresh and hotellike. Add a sparkly accent pillow for the holidays to make guests feel special.
Place a piece of chocolate or a mint and a welcome note on the pillow. In the note, thank the guests for coming and impart any information you might need to give them, such as the schedule for the weekend and any rules or oddities about the house that they might need to know.
On the nightstand, place bottled water or a carafe of water and some glasses, a scented candle and a lamp. If the bedroom has room for a sitting area, you can create a coffee bar with a one-cup coffee maker, a choice of coffees, sweeteners and nondairy creamer and coffee cups.
Hang a fresh robe in the closet and let them know in your welcome note it’s for their use. Also include plenty of empty hangers.
In the bathroom, pair new functional towels with fun shimmering hand towels in the same gray-and-white color scheme. A fresh soap tray and new soap make guests feel special. Make sure the bathroom is In the bedroom, put fresh looking linens on the bed, decorate with a snazzy pillow, and throw in a few special items to make guests feel luxurious. White Egyptian cotton percale sheet made in Italy by Serra, $210; white Egyptian cotton blanket cover made in Italy by Serra, $370; flint Egyptian cotton all-season blanket made in Portugal by Peacock Alley, $215; Sivaana gemencrusted pillow, $214; Bichotan charcoal eye mask, $25; Roland Pine soy candle, $28; all at Wildflower Organics. Notecard, $2.95, and Lake Champlain chocolate, $0.69, both at Whole Foods. fully stocked with toiletries. You can get minitoiletry sets to make the guests feel like they are staying in a luxury hotel. Also think about all the things a guest might need or might have forgotten that they don’t want to ask for: deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, soap, shampoo and conditioner, shaving cream, tissue, pain reliever, antacids. And don’t forget to place the plunger, extra toilet paper and trash can near the toilet.
Make guests feel welcome
In addition to a welcome note and mint on the pillow, think about a wine and cheese spread to greet them. We went to Whole Foods and asked for recommendations. The employees chose two Texas wines, a white and a red, and paired that with a cheddar from near Waco and a goat cheese from France, a fresh baguette, dark chocolate from Tanzania and almonds from Spain. If guests are coming in late at night, milk and cookies might be the way to go, or a nightcap and chocolate.
The holidays can be a tough time for guests because they don’t get to do some of the traditions they would do in their own home. If you’re hanging stockings, provide one for each of them and fill it. If your tree has a lot of family ornaments, consider making ones with their names on them.
If you’re cooking Christmas dinner, invite them to make a dish or give you the recipe of the dish that they love to have with their ham or turkey.
Too much togetherness can be a bad thing. Have some suggestions of places to go and listen to their ideas as well.
Have a set end time for the visit that everyone has agreed on beforehand, and remember, sometimes a shorter stay can be more inviting because you don’t have time to get on one another’s nerves.