Ding-dong! The holidays are upon us and that means visitors and guests will come calling quicker than you can hang a wreath on the front door. Luckily there are lots of low-cost and no-cost ways to make time together a breeze and ensure everyone feels welcome.

Whether you are prepping for a small get together or hosting in-laws, out-laws or friends over a long weekend, these tips will take you to the top of the host(ess) with the most(ess) list faster than you can say “cheers!”

Sweet Smells – When it comes to first impressions, the nose has it! Make your home warm and inviting with scented candles or put a batch of cookies in the oven a few hours before guests arrive. If you are dining in, fill the crockpot with an easy, delicious meal and let the smell of home cooking fill the house.  

Bathroom Supplies – Keeping guest bathrooms fully stocked is an easy way to make visitors feel extra welcome. Load up on TP, hand towels and soap so you can quickly restock. Have a supply of extra razors, toothbrushes, toothpaste and other must-haves in case someone forgets to pack a thing or two.

Allergies – Before you break out the cookbooks and stock the pantry, ask guests about food allergies or special diets. This will save lots of time, confusion and hurt feelings and ensure whatever you whip up will be enjoyed by all. 

Books and Games – Prepare for a gray day or time between activities with a supply of books and games. Let guests know where to find these entertainment goodies so they can easily fill relaxing afternoons with fun things to do. Games are also a great way for people to get to know each other and the perfect excuse to put the phone down for a few hours!

Pet Prep – If four-legged friends are part of the crew, have extra food bowls, beds, leashes and poop bags at the ready and print out a list of nearby dog parks or green spaces so your peeps can find the perfect spot to take a walk.

Temperature Control – Cozy blankets are a beautiful and easy way to make sure everyone stays warm and comfortable. Put throws over couches and chairs and stock up in bedroom closets or benches for easy access for overnight guests. Invite the crew to spend time together with quilts over outdoor chairs to enjoy the crisp weather. 

Most importantly, relax, have fun and keep communication channels open so you can make the most of the best time of the year!