Parties and visits with out-of-town family members are often the highlights of the holiday season — but if you’re the one hosting, they can also make your stress levels skyrocket.
From decorations and desserts to clean linens and extra toothpaste, there’s a lot to take care of in the weeks and days before your guests walk in the door. With these helpful tips we collected, you can make sure everything’s covered in advance — so you can spend quality time with your guests instead of scrambling to put the finishing touches on your dinner table or guest room.
How To Prepare for a Party at Your House
Whether you’re planning a casual holiday brunch with friends, a family-style dinner with all your relatives, or an upscale cocktail party with your coworkers, these tips we gathered will help make preparing for guests a breeze.
Send Out Invites Early
For many, the holiday season isn’t just the most wonderful time of the year — it’s the busiest. Between office holiday parties, tree lighting ceremonies, and weekend trips to visit family, your party guests may only have a few free weekends in December. That’s why you should send invites to your get-together early (even if that invite is as simple as a text). You may want to notify guests as soon as two months in advance for formal holiday dinners, but casual parties usually only require a one- or two-week notice.
Plan Your Menu (and Start Cooking) Ahead of Time
Most holiday celebrations revolve around food — and lots of it. Here are a few tips we put together for you to help ensure your guests get plenty of treats and leave feeling satisfied:
Get Your Space Ready
It’s easy to go overboard preparing for guests at your house — after all, you want to put your best foot forward. But instead of rearranging every room from top to bottom, you can make your pre-party cleaning routine simple with these steps:
Deck(orate) the Halls Safely
A festive atmosphere is a must-have for any holiday party. While you’re decking the halls with tinsel, streamers, and colorful lights, be sure to follow these safety tips we gathered from around the web:
Prepare for Arrival
When you’re busy making last-minute runs to the grocery store, polishing your holiday plates, and juggling several dishes that all cook at different temperatures, it’s easy to overlook the things you need to do when guests actually arrive. Luckily, your Ring Doorbell can make it easy to give your guests a warm and cheery welcome.
If you’re busy putting the finishing touches on dinner when your guests arrive, you can use Quick Replies to share a holiday greeting and let guests know you’ll be right there. And with a festive holiday-themed faceplate, you can start spreading holiday cheer before they even enter. If you’re tied up in the kitchen and can’t make it to the door, you can also use Two-Way Talk on your phone to let visitors know they can come in.
Make sure there’s a drop-off zone for your guests to put their coats and shoes once they step inside — and then the party can get started!
How To Make Guests Feel Welcome for an Overnight Visit
Preparing for house guests can feel daunting, but it only takes a few simple tips to ensure your friends or family members feel right at home.
Take Stock of the Things To Have for Overnight Guests
A few weeks before your guests plan to arrive, you should take stock of the items they might need — and see what you already have. You might be surprised to find that the only thing you need to grab is your niece and nephew’s favorite holiday movie.
Here are a few essentials you should always have for your visitors:
If you want your guests to feel extra cozy at your home, consider a few of these extras:
Ask About What Food To Have for House Guests
When guests arrive after a long road trip or flight, they’ll probably want to put their feet up and relax with a big cup of hot cocoa — not head to the grocery store. To make them feel right at home as soon as they put their bags down, you should have a pantry full of their favorite foods and snacks. Check in ahead of time to see if they have any special requests or dietary restrictions, so you don’t have to worry about finding a gluten-free dinner option at the last minute.
Since your visitors may have busy days full of sightseeing, gift shopping, and coffee dates with friends and family they haven’t seen in a while, it can be extra helpful to stock up on snacks that don’t require cooking, like crackers, fruit, chips, and cheese. Grab-and-go breakfast items like granola bars and yogurt can also simplify their morning routine. (And if your guests are big coffee or tea drinkers, make sure you have plenty of options to give them their caffeine fix!)
If you plan on hosting your guests for dinner, consider preparing meals and freezing them ahead of time. That way, you can spend more time crossing items off your holiday bucket list and less time in the kitchen.
Incorporate Your Guests Into Your Home Security Routine
Keeping your home safe might not be at the top of your holiday to-do list — but it’s just as important as finding the perfect gifts, planning your party menu, and outdoing last year’s light display. And when you have extra people coming and going, you might need a little extra help to keep an eye on what’s happening at home.
With a Video Doorbell, you can keep an eye on who comes and goes, even if you’re across town watching the Nutcracker or caroling in the neighborhood. If you get a Motion Alert when you know your guests are out of the house, you can check in on your phone to see if a delivery driver finally dropped off the last gift on your list. (Keep in mind that Live View only shows you what's happening in real time, so you'll probably miss the action if you don't see the notification until later).
A Ring Alarm can also give you peace of mind that everything’s safe at home when you’re taking your guests out for a peppermint-flavored coffee. If you and your guests won’t always be home at the same time, you may want to also consider a smart lock. You can set different door codes for your guests or even unlock the door from your phone, so they don’t have to worry about carrying around a spare key.