How to cope if you’re having guests over for Christmas
If it’s your turn to host the Christmas gathering this year, and you are already panicking about the number of guests and how to feed and entertain them, you are not alone. It’s easy for tempers to rise during the festive period, as houses become overcrowded and despite our best intentions, even the calmest of hosts can feel put upon and stressed.
So how do you make sure that your home is inviting and the picture of calm celebration, whilst you are still enjoying the company of your invited guests?
Well, it’s tricky if you have a small house and it is packed with too many people, that’s for sure. But a little bit organisation and forward planning does go a long way, as does delegating tasks to family members.
Christmas tends to be a very busy period for us, and over the years our clients have passed on quite a few of their tips.
Here’s what they have told us:
Designate a personal space for your guests
Obviously, this usually means a spare bedroom but many of us don’t have the space but still must put up friends and family over the festive period, so how do you cope? If you must use a sofa-bed that is in the living or dining room, at least provide a couple of drawer spaces in your bedroom so that your guest doesn’t have to live out of a suitcase.
If you have small children, consider moving them in with you and giving their rooms to your guests. One thing to mention is to strip the bed of children’s duvets and put on adult sized ones. This makes it more like a spare room and is much more comfortable.
If you have a spare room this is much better, but you can go the extra mile and add little touches to make your guests feel even more welcome. Put nice fluffy towels on the bed so they do not have to share with the rest of the family. Clear away any personal stuff and leave nice toiletries out for them.
Designate one place to eat at all times
If you have a dining room or kitchen with a large table that your guests can easily fit around, then make this the place to eat. It is much easier for the host to serve people and clear up afterwards. Eating your meals all over the house when there are lots of you can lead to unnecessary mess and cause friction. By keeping it all in one place, everyone not only eats together, which is much nicer, but then everyone can help to do the clearing away and the washing up.
Get your guests to bring over one item to help with the cost
Even if you are doing the hosting, you can’t be expected to pay for everything, especially if it is a larger gathering. It is perfectly acceptable to ask your guests to provide something to the celebrations. One person could oversee the turkey, another the booze, someone else could provide the snacks, and so on. Give the less expensive items to those you know are struggling, like mixers for drinks, and those who can afford it get the big-ticket stuff. It’s austerity Britain after all!
Delegate chores to everyone, even your guests!
If there is one thing we have learned through talking to our clients at Christmas, it’s that if the host is stressed, everyone will feel it. So, helping the host is the way to ensure that everyone has a great time. This can only be achieved if everyone pulls their weight. If the host is reluctant to delegate you can take it upon yourself to do things that will help her (we are presuming it is a woman!) So, if she will not let you prepare the vegetables for the Christmas dinner, ask to lay the table or vacuum the living room instead. You get the idea.
Relax and enjoy the time with your family!
The final message we got was that no matter how full up your house was, family was the most important thing in the world and Christmas is a time that brings people together. Let petty stresses go and just enjoy the company, you never know when you are going to see these people again.