It happens to everyone with what seems like a bit too much frequency – life is as hectic as life can be as we try to manage overwhelming holiday schedules. Then, an old friend or distant relative calls out of the blue to let you know that they are in town and would love to drop by and say hello. With a knot in your stomach, you look around the house and invite them to stop over in an hour-or-so.
But now what? The house is a mess, there is nothing to eat and a drop in guest will be left with the impression that your life is in total disarray. At house spouse, we have a few tips to ease the pain of last minute guests and allow you to get the most from those drop in old friends and relatives all while leaving them with a positive impression of their visit.
1. Organize, quickly
Start from the entertainment areas of your home (living/family rooms, kitchen, guest bathroom) and move towards the less trafficked areas (bedrooms, office). Scoop up all of the clutter and run it to its proper storage place. If something is questionable as to whether you should keep it (junk mail, for example) toss it into the trash. Do the dishes in the kitchen sink or empty and load the dishwasher.
2. Do a fast, surface level, cleaning
A guest that is just over for a short period of time is most likely to notice soiled areas that they come in contact with. Quickly run through the house and dust (around objects is okay, you are in a hurry) horizontal surfaces, such as tables, coffee tables, end tables, counters, televisions and entertainment centers. Wipe down bathroom counters and the toilette rim. Swab out the toilet bowl quickly if necessary.
3. Make an easy, go-to snack
It is a good idea to always keep a go-to snack on hand. At House Spouse, we have found two items keep really well in the back of the fridge or freezer, are quick to prepare and are always crowd pleasers. Cheese and crackers are great. An unopened block of most cheeses will keep for months, as will a box of crackers (and an optional salami). Keep a stash on hand for last minute entertaining. A quick slice of the cheese mixed with crackers on a plate and you have a great appetizer to converse over. Thin-crust frozen pizza’s are also easy to throw in the oven, slice up into bite-sized pieces and enjoy on a cool winter night.
4. Prepare a beverage
Part of being a good host is inviting a guest to share a drink with you upon their arrival. A packet of instant hot chocolate or fresh coffee is always easy and festive during the holiday season. In the evening, it can be nice to open a bottle of wine that you have had on hand for a special occasion. A savvy host also keeps a bottle of bubbly tucked away in the back of the fridge for impromptu celebrations – popping the cork on some champagne can really create fun holiday magic – even if it is simply celebrating the reunion of friends.
5. Set the mood
Light a candle, or better yet, start a fire. Dim the lights to a comfortable level and turn on some background music. Doing so will put you and your guests at ease.
6. Enjoy catching up!
While mingling with a last minute guest is often the highest item on a holiday to-do list, it really can bring a sense of calm and joy to the season. Once the guest arrives, take a deep breath, put all of your stress aside, and enjoy the company – you will be surprised how much fun you will have!