Since many of you will be having guests during the holidays, I thought these hints might be helpful. These were taken from my book Given to Hospitality Church or Home.

Being a good hostess does not require a formal education, but it is helpful to know a few basic tips. Some of the following tips I have learned by trial and error.

Several years ago, my husband and I became stewards of a large home. After we moved in, I was so excited about having the room to entertain, I invited twelve pastors and their wives over for dinner. Since I had moved from a house that had one bathroom to a house that had five bathrooms, I did not bother to check the supplies in each bathroom. During the evening, a distinguished pastor sheepishly had to come to me to ask for toilet paper…number 1 rule…make sure all your bathrooms have plenty of toilet paper, hand soap, and air freshener.

• Supply feminine products to guests by putting them in a pretty box or bag and place on the back of toilet.
• Clean house before guests arrive. Don’t rush around cleaning the house while guests are there.
• Chill drinks and make extra ice.
• Arrange furniture to maximize seating for everyone.
• Make sure table is set before guests arrive.

Overnight Guests

Overnight guests can sometimes feel uncomfortable being in an unfamiliar room. Try to make your guest room as comfortable as possible.

Items Needed for a Guest Room

1. A clean bed with extra bedding
2. An iron and ironing board
3. A comfortable reading chair
4. A good lamp and good selection of books
5. A good mirror
6. A clock
7. A box of tissue
8. A small sewing kit
9. A small trash can
10. A good supply of plastic hangers in the closet
11. A writing desk with pens, pencils, paper, scissors, and envelopes
12. A power strip for guests to plug in cell phones and other electronic devices
13. An index card with the code for wireless internet placed in desk drawer.
14. A welcome packet with information about the area
15. A folding luggage rack (this makes a convenient place for a guest to put his suitcase)

Tips to Make Overnight Guests Feel Special

• Leave a welcome gift and note.
• Leave two Hershey kisses or Mint Patties on pillows.
• Have a basket of fresh fruit, two stemmed glasses, and two bottles of water.
• Keep a snack tray available in the kitchen. This tray could include microwave popcorn, oatmeal bars, and individual bags of peanuts, hot chocolate mixes, and herbal teas.
• If your guest room is large enough, keep a compact fridge and stock it with waters, sodas, juices, and other snack items.
• If your guests have to share a bathroom, you might keep large terrycloth bathrobes in the closet.
• Place a TV with a DVD player and inspirational DVDs in guest room.
• Place a stuffed animal on a child’s bed to make him feel more secure.

Tips for Supplying a Guest Bath

When preparing for a guest bath, think about things that you might find in a nice hotel or an upscale Bed and Breakfast. You find nice plump towels, great toiletries, and fresh, clean smells.

Items Needed for a Guest Bath

1. Towels and washcloths
2. Extra toilet paper and tissues
3. Disposable cups
4. Fresh soap
5. Extra toothbrushes and toothpaste
6. Body lotion and moisturizer
7. Shampoo, conditioner, hair spray
8. Deodorant
9. New toothbrushes ,toothpaste, mouthwash
10. Waste basket
11. Air freshener
12. Razors
13. Bubble bath or bath oil (always a special treat)
14. Plunger under the sink
15. Night light

Consider keeping common medicines such as aspirin, anti-diarrhea pills, acid reducers, and a first-aid kit in your guest bath.

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