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Holiday Houseguests

Setting a Few Boundaries for the Visit

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Watch out! The holidays are here and they're coming! No - not Santa's reindeers. I'm talking about visiting family members and friends. The days of going to Grandma's house for Christmas dinner and returning the same day are long gone for many families - Grandma is no longer a 5-minute walk away. Now, visiting for the holidays necessitates family members traveling to one another's homes and staying overnight for one or several days.

Extend a Specific Invitation

If you will be on the hosting end this year, there are several things you can do to make the visit pleasurable for you and your guests. One of the most important things to do up front is make it clear how long your guests will be welcome in your home. If you and your guests are best buddies, you might want to extend an open-ended invitation. But if you feel they're best entertained in small doses, make the timeframe for the invitation clear. Say something like "we'd love to have you stay through breakfast Sunday morning, but we'll be leaving for a party (or visit, or hike up Mt. Kilimanjaro - you fill in the blank) right after breakfast, so we regret we'll have to end our visit then." In that way, you're in control of the situation, you know how much extra food you'll need to stock up on, and there won't be any uncomfortable periods where no one knows what's expected and you're too shy to ask when they'll be leaving.

The next thing you'll need to decide is how many meals you'll be preparing, and how many meals you can take out or go out for. There's nothing wrong with not cooking every meal yourself, as long as your guests know you've made some kind of plan for quieting their growling stomachs.

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