Your Guide To Preparing for Guests This Holiday Season
Your Guide To Preparing for Guests This Holiday Season
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Your Guide To Preparing for Guests This Holiday Season

By Ring on December 15, 2022

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:

  • Consider how you’ll be serving your guests. Sit-down dinners usually require more preparation than a table full of finger foods, so make a decision early (and stick to it).
  • Ask your guests if they have any allergies and dietary restrictions, and plan your menu accordingly.
  • Keep it simple to avoid getting overwhelmed. Make a few signature dishes and drinks, but grab the rest from the store. (Or, if your guests want to pitch in for an informal party, let them know what you’ll need). 
  • If you can prep and store any items ahead of time, do it! You’ll spend less time stressing in the kitchen on the day of your party. 
  • Always overestimate how much your guests will eat and drink. You don’t want to have to run out in the middle of a meal to pick up more wine or crackers. 
  • 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:

  • Focus on deep cleaning the rooms your guests will spend the most time in. Be sure to dust and wipe down furniture, sweep and vacuum the floors, clean the windows, and remove any clutter. 
  • Rearrange the furniture in the main sitting and eating areas to create more space for your guests.
  • Keep food and drinks in large rooms, so you don’t create a traffic jam when guests go to grab a plate.
  • 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:

  • Use flame-resistant decorations and keep any flammable items away from candles and fireplaces.
  • Don’t put fragile decorations in an area where excited kids or overly jolly adults could knock them over. 
  • If you’ll have kids or pets at the party, make sure there aren’t any choking or poison hazards, like small toys or holly berries.
  • 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:

  • Fresh sheets and extra blankets.
  • Plenty of pillows.
  • Clean towels.
  • Extra toiletries, like shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, lotion, and toothbrushes, in case someone forgets.
  • Comfy air mattresses or a pullout couch if you don’t have enough beds.
  • A list of instructions for using the TV, alarm system, coffee maker, and other appliances (and don’t forget the Wi-Fi password!)
  • If you want your guests to feel extra cozy at your home, consider a few of these extras

  • Games and toys to entertain the kids.
  • Books and magazines for the grown-ups.
  • A suitcase stand.
  • Fresh flowers.
  • 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.

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