Nico Stoerner, Staff Writer
Baby, it’s cold outside – but there’s a difference between being the Perfect Host and simply providing the place for your holiday celebrations. Even more importantly, in the 21st century there are far more things to deal with. From Wi-Fi passwords, numerous remotes, home theaters, and maybe even the coffee maker – odds are your friends or family coming for the holidays will have at least a few questions. Your best bet: Prepare for everything and stay 5 steps ahead so you can be the host with the most, sipping your holiday cocktail (see our Holiday Cocktail Guide which appeared in the November 15 issue of Fenuxe which also featured our excellent gift guide) and smiling as your guests enjoy their stay. Remember: The key to being a great host is to have fun, so take these steps to ensure that you will be able to relax and enjoy the company.
Most people think only of preparation for a party, but they don’t consider preparation of information for their guests. Especially if you have people staying with you, prepare a guest guide with everything from your and your partner’s cell numbers to the Wi-Fi password and instructions for the remote. You might also want to leave directions to your local gas station, Whole Foods, and Starbucks for them along with a map of the immediate area – ya know, just in case. Print this on nice paper stock from Paper Source in Virginia Highlands, or even drop into your local office store for some great options. Check your word processing program for easy templates or even look online for the one that you like best. Not only will they be impressed, your friends and family will wonder how long you have considered opening your own B & B.
Stock Up, Stockings Up
Before you hang even the first decoration be sure that you have anticipated your guests every need in advance. Too often we worry about the presentation and not enough about the preparation. The fact is that without adequate towels, linens, toiletries, and other necessary items (toothpaste, floss, mouthwash, shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, soap, and maybe even some pain relievers and antacids) you’ll spend most of your time together making runs to the store and not enjoying your time together. Consider creating a small guest basket with travel-sized toiletries like these. Help make your guests feel autonomous and they will also feel comfortable and at home: No one likes to pester their host.
Let ‘Em Breathe
Don’t make your guests live out of their suitcase. Be sure to provide a room with a dresser, luggage rack, or at least a closet with hangers so your guests aren’t digging for their clothes and going around in wrinkled clothing.
Recharge Their Batteries
Provide plenty of easy-to-prepare breakfast foods such as cereals, pastries, and bagels as well as coffee, creamer, and tea. Although lunch and dinner are fairly organized, breakfasts can be tricky and the timing isn’t always in synch, so provide easy options that everyone will enjoy. As well, consider gadgets, gizmos, and even the occasional gps. In our day and age everyone has something that will need to be charged, so be sure to pick up or set out an empty power strip for mass charging. A charging station, carefully placed so as not to be visually unappealing, will be just the stroke of genius that will surprise and impress your visitors.
Prepare a list of interesting and unique places and restaurants in your city – both familiar and new – and surprise your guests by showing them your city. They’ll appreciate getting to know your familiar haunts, and you’ll be able to create new memories with them as you experience new places for the first time. Hosting your out of town guests allows you to enjoy your city in a way you haven’t for a long time – as a traveler. As a result of mundane routine you may have forgotten how spectacular your city is: Renew your love affair with your home town and share the fun with your loved ones.
Talk To Me, Baby
As with all relationships, communication is key. Talk to your guests before their visit to ask the important questions (think food allergies, vegetarians, and special accommodations). Talking to your guests in advance will help inspire you as to how you can best prepare for their visit and what activities they may be most interested in doing. Do they prefer cultural experiences like the High, Coca-Cola, or Fernbank Museum? Perhaps go and see a couple blockbuster movies? Enjoy more restaurants and catching up? Spend hours cooking and sharing stories? Taking the time to listen to your guests will make them feel special and enable you to wow them with your thoughtfulness.
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