Guests: Visitors and Visiting





My Grandmother used to say that house guests are like fish, because they both start to stink after 3 days. That said, how can you be a good host or a good guest?

As a host, whether you are hosting someone for a few days or a casual dinner, the most important rule is to make your guests comfortable. If you have someone staying with you a few nice touches will make them more comfortable even if they are crashing on your sofa bed. So, what I am talking in about does not cost a lot of money or take a lot of time. Remember it is all about simplicity. So, what makes a guest more comfortable?

• Flexibility with schedule. Don’t over schedule their visit with you. Let them guide you as to what they want to do. They might be happier hanging out with you at home vs. being dragged thru every museum in town for the tenth time.
• Clean sheets and towels. Also having a little care kit for them in their room is a very nice touch. A care kit would contain small size containers of shampoo, conditioner, lotion, soap, toothpaste, aspirin and perhaps a small bedtime treat like a piece of chocolate or a cookie along with a bottle of water.
• Other niceties are fresh flowers in their room, having a few books or magazine available for them to read and of course a gracious host.

As a guest it is always a nice gesture to bring a small gift for the host. This applies regardless if you are spending a few nights or just joining them for dinner. I like to try and personalize the gift I bring by thinking about what my host enjoys. That said, I do try and keep a few hostess gifts on hand so I do not have to run around trying to find a gift before I dash off to a dinner party. Some of the things I like to give as hostess gifts are:

• A bottle of wine. A fun thing to do with wine is to sign and date the bottle and add a short message so your host can remember you when they drink the wine. If you are bring wine as a gift to a dinner party, make sure the host knows that they do not have to open it that night.
• Soaps. I like to give handcrafted soaps or decorative boxes of soaps. Olive oil soaps are good choice too. Most people like them because they are not overly scented.
• Candles. A lovely candle or set of candles are a nice gift. I really like to give candles during the fall and winter when the nights are really long and dark. Somehow a little candle light always makes an ordinary evening seem special.

• Chocolate. As a self professed chocoholic, I always appreciate a gift of chocolate. So, I enjoying giving a nice box of truffles or assorted chocolates.

You will note that I left flowers off of the list. I love fresh flowers however, if you take a bouquet that needs attention, it can be a nuisance for your host to stop what they are doing (like preparing dinner or greeting other guests) to track down a vase and deal with getting the flowers in water. So, if you want to take flowers just make sure they are already in a vase.

As a guest, you want to be respectful of your host and their home. In other words, pick up after yourself. Your host is not your maid. Do not leave your stuff strewn all over the place. Also, give your hosts a little privacy/ time to themselves.

You should always send your host a thank you note after your visit. This applies to overnight stays as well as parties or dinners or brunch, etc. I like to send a handwritten note. To simply life, I keep a box of small note cards and stamps in my desk so it is easy to write and short note and stick the card in the mail. I like to buy boxes of cards because they tend to be a better value than buying individual cards. I have found some really good deals on boxes of note cards (prices like $2.99 for a box of 12 cards) at places like TJ Maxx, Marshalls and Ross. Also, some of the outlet centers have paper shops that carry cards from lines like Marcel Schurman. I have picked up boxes of close out stationary and individual cards at bargain basement prices. When I come across deals like these, I stock up. With email readily available, it is very rare these days to get hand written note or letters. So, when you send a handwritten note, it is special and your host will feel appreciated.

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