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The Holiday season is arguably the best time of year. The twinkling lights, decor, and fragrances are just a few of the things we all love the most. It is also a time that most families gather together to celebrate each other and partake in yearly customs, and for many, to exchange gifts. I have gathered a short list of guidelines we recommend for everyone, whether you are hosting this year or attending someone else’s event, that will be helpful in making your and your family’s holiday go smoothly so that the focus can be on the celebration.

If You Are Hosting:

-DO make sure you are prepared prior to your guests arrival, especially if you have family staying more than a day. You will want them to arrive to a clean, uncluttered home that is well stocked with groceries. Begin getting ready about a week in advance, so that you will not feel overwhelmed when it is time for the festivities to begin.

-DO set your ground rules. For example, if you want everyone to take their shoes off at the door, don’t be afraid to speak up. Although they are your guest, it is important to make sure your core house rules are met. Especially if you have small children, where a schedule is very important.

-DO try to keep your guests comfortable by making sure they have beverages and snacks. To make it easier on yourself, especially if you’re cooking and won’t have time to check if they need anything as often, set up a table or bar area with those things so your guests can help themselves.

-DON’T decline offers to help out, unless it is a direct imposition to what you are doing. There’s always plenty to do, even if you don’t want anyone helping with your project at that time. Maybe someone can gather trash, or help with the little ones if there are any in your home. Always know what needs to be done, and don’t be afraid to let anyone help.

-DON’T try and make sure there is always an activity going on. You and your guests need some time to unwind, especially if they are in from out of town. While it is always fun for everyone if you show them a great time, having too much going on will wear everyone out.

For more great ideas on making your guests feel at home this holiday season, check out Martha Beck’s Blog On Oprah.com

If You Are A Guest:

DO arrive when you say you will. Don’t show up too early without permission, they may not be ready for you. If you will be late for any reason, let them know as soon as you can so they won’t worry.

DO offer to help. You don’t need to ask every 5 minutes, but a few times a day during your stay would be great. Your host/hostess has a whole lot to do, and although they may feel guilty about asking for your help, it will always be appreciated. Even something as simple as gathering trash after a meal, or putting the dishes in the sink.

DO communicate your plans. If you are from out of town and have a few activities you would like to do, talk to your host/hostess in advance so everyone can be on the same page. If they cannot accompany you on all of your adventures, ask them for a spare house key.

DON’T ignore the house rules. They are there for a reason, and even if it’s not a rule you would have in your home, it is necessary that everyone follow them out of respect to the host/hostess. If they have small children, there will be a napping/feeding schedule, and if it is not kept, will always result in an angry, overstimulated child.

DON’T be confrontational with anyone. It doesn’t matter if that cousin you can’t stand will be there, just don’t talk to them unless you need to. Making a scene with anyone, for any reason, has the potential to ruin everyone’s holiday, and nobody wants to be the family member that doesn’t get invited back. The most gracious gift you can provide your host/hostess is a great attitude and a warm smile. Everything else is just a bonus.

Click Here for more great tips on house guest etiquette.

From everyone here at Bit a Bliss, we wish you a wonderful holiday season!