Column: Tips for being a gracious host and guest

Commentary by Beverly Randolph

With the holidays approaching, will you be hosting guests or staying with family or friends?  With preparation, communication, small touches and offering assistance all parties will feel comfortable and avoid awkward situations while making heartfelt memories.  With these tips, a return invitation will be extended instead of a sigh of relief when you leave.

Providing arrival and departure information, along with any itinerary or dietary restrictions, helps the host plan around guests needs, including transportation and meals. Hostesses kindly communicate helpful information, such as how to operate the television and coffee maker, and any house rules, such as where to smoke or not wearing shoes in the home, what to do with used linen, etc.

Guests will feel special with these small touches: a welcome note with key, city and attraction information, WIFI password, power strip with surge protection, fresh linens on the bed, accessible extra blanket(s) and pillow(s), slippers, toiletries, hair dryer, digital clock, bedside light with books and magazines, carafe of water with glass, candle/matches, flowers, midnight snack bag, hall nightlight, trashcan, fan or heater, and snacks for the road.

The most common asked guest question is how to handle used linen.  Hostesses either appreciate the guest removing used bed linens and others prefer to do it themselves.  If not advised, kindly ask.

The most common hostess request is for guests to tidy up after themselves.  Guests, offer to help with preparation of meals, dishes, laundry, etc.

A hostess gift is a must, such as flowers, bottle of wine, offer to take everyone out for a meal or activity, or cooking a meal at home.  A thank-you note, call or email is another must. Take the time to let the host know how much you appreciated their hospitality.

Wishing you safe travels and fun visits!

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