Welcoming Christmas Guests?

Christmas is the perfect excuse to spend more time with family and have those long-overdue catch-ups with friends. If that means a higher head count in your house, read on and discover the finishing touches to make sure guests feel really welcome as soon as they cross your threshold.

Ready for guests?
Whether you’ve got people popping in for drinks or staying for the festivities, you’re no doubt already thinking about getting things ready. Preparing now will avoid a last-minute panic on the day – you want to welcome guests with a mulled wine and a smile, not with a duster in hand – and a few small changes will make your house feel like a home from home to help them enjoy their visit all the more.

Make an impression
First impressions count, and that probably explains the rush on our doormats every winter. After all, when you’ve decorated the front door with a gorgeous holly wreath, the last thing you want is a tired old mat letting your hallway down. If you want to avoid a jumbled heap of shoes at the bottom of the stairs, make sure there’s a shoe rack ready and waiting, and a handy tote for hats and scarves.

Create a haven
The spare room is rarely ‘spare’ at all, and is often home to all those things we don’t have space for anywhere else. To transform it from an ironing room/wardrobe overflow/general dumping ground into a restful haven, start by tidying away as much clutter as you can and consider using clever storage solutions. Clear a drawer by packing clothes into vacuum bags to store in the loft, and use weather-proof storage boxes to stash bulkier things in the garage. Replace the mishmash of coat hangers with a matching set, and if there’s no room in the wardrobe, consider investing in a clothes rail that you can bring out every year.

Now that the room is clear, take a look around from a guest’s point of view, and imagine how you can make their stay more comfortable. Is there a lamp to read by? Do they need another pillow? Is it warm enough? An electric blanket will help them sleep in the lap of luxury, a night light will guide them to the smallest room if nature calls during the night, and a mirror will help them get ready for the day ahead after a good night’s sleep.

If the fold-out camp bed often ends up in your little one’s room, encourage children to tidy away their toys – after all, they’ll need to make way for Santa’s new deliveries anyway. Invest in some neat underbed storage boxes to pack things away into, and you’ll be surprised at how much bedroom space you can reclaim.

Bath time!
Don’t forget to leave fresh towels on the bed, and check guests have got somewhere to hang them after a shower; over-door hooks are a simple idea, or to really indulge, pop a heated towel warmer in the room and they can use it to warm their pyjamas up at bedtime too.

Isn’t it a nice treat when you go to a hotel and discover those miniature toiletries, toothbrushes, little packets of biscuits and bottles of water to pop beside your bed? Putting together a bespoke welcome hamper is a really thoughtful touch that visitors are bound to appreciate, and it’ll save them having to ask if they’ve forgotten anything. You could even treat them to a pair of fluffy socks – perfect if they’ve forgotten to pack slippers.

A few fresh new bathroom storage additions will lift the look of your bathroom and create extra space for their toiletries, while a quick spritz of Clean Shower will keep your suite sparkling without loads of scrubbing – who has time to clean when guest are around anyway? An over-door airer is handy for towels and, while it’s not the most glamorous item, a loo roll stand is helpful for those extra rolls you’re bound to need.

Cosy up
Back downstairs, have a glance around the lounge. You’re likely to spend a bit of time in here, so it’s worth draping a snuggly blanket or heated throw over the couch; they bring instant cosiness to a room, and they’re really handy if anyone needs a sofa snooze after one too many mince pies. Magazines, toys, bits and bobs – we always end up with ‘things’ in the living room that need a home, so storage baskets in neutral shades are a god-send.

Everyone loves to gather around a real fire at Christmas, so treat guests to a little fireside magic with the help of the Northern Lights Fire Cones. Pop one or two of these special pine cones onto an open fire, and the flames will dance in a mesmerising array of colours to enjoy while you sip a warming mulled wine.

Declutter the kitchen
Let’s head to the kitchen. It might not seem an obvious way to get ready for Christmas guests, but don’t forget to give your fridge and cupboards a good clear out ready for all of those yummy festive goodies. With more mouths to feed, you’ll be glad you cleared those shelves, and our cupboard organisers of every shape and size will conjure up the space you need.

While you and your other half might not mind quaffing wine from mismatched glasses, it’s far nicer to be able to raise a toast with a matching set, so don’t forget to check your cupboards to see if your glassware needs updating. Always buy more wine, beer and fizz than you think you need, and make sure you’ve got a pot of Shimmer For Prosecco to secure your position as the host with the most. Giving prosecco a pink, iridescent swirl, it never fails to impress. Make sure you’ve got serving bowls and platters ready too – when you’re catering for a crowd, everyone enjoys nibbles, snacks and a cheese selection they can help themselves to and, of course, they have the added bonus of being quick and easy to put together, meaning more time to spend with your guests.

Don’t forget to stock up on the little things – check there’s a lovely hand soap in the downstairs loo, stash some spare toothbrushes in case they forget theirs, get the snacks and mince pies ready… and then it’s time to relax.

Getting your house gorgeous now means you’ll be free to do the big shop and wrap your Christmas presents later on, then you can sit back and relax with a glass of something festive as guests arrive, safe in the knowledge that both you and your home are ready for Christmas.

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