​Thanksgiving Survival Guide: 8 Ways to Be a Low-Stress Host to Overnight Guests

​Thanksgiving Survival Guide: 8 Ways to Be a Low-Stress Host to Overnight Guests

Elizabeth Licata
Nov 22, 2013

Hosting Thanksgiving is a major endeavor, but hosting overnight guests is an even more fraught proposition because nobody leaves when dinner is over. Nothing makes overnight guests feel more out-of-place than a stressed out host. If you have overnight guests coming this holiday, here are some tips for creating a relaxed experience that will make you want to do it again and make them feel truly welcome.

Acquire an assortment of snacks and beverages.
If you're hosting Thanksgiving you probably have enough food to worry about, but people really appreciate being able to grab themselves an easy snack or drink whenever they feel the need, which doesn't always match up with mealtimes . Stock up on things your guests like to drink. If you don't know for sure what they like, start with coffee, tea, and sparkling water, and maybe a few sodas. Keeping some cookies or hummus and pretzels around can also help keep people from getting hungry/angry (and starting arguments!).

Bring in some fresh flowers.
Fresh flowers make any room feel more warm and welcoming, and they'll make you feel more accomplished about your preparations and therefore, less stressed. Grocery store flowers are completely acceptable, and a single bloom in a vase is lovely. Just bring in something fresh and pretty to make the room feel more alive.

Get extra keys if necessary.
You want your guests to feel free to be able to come and go without having to call you, so make sure to have a spare set of keys for them. If you don't have a spare set handy, see if you can get your keys copied before your guests arrive.

Provide toiletries.
No one wants to travel with shampoo and conditioner, so it's nice to provide basic toiletries like toothpaste and shampoo for your guests. If you've been collecting shampoo and conditioner from hotel rooms over the years, go ahead and deploy them here. (And you've probably thought of this already, but definitely stock up on more toilet paper than you think you could possibly need.)

Put clean sheets on the bed and towels where they can find them.
If your guest is sleeping on the couch or an air mattress, complete bedding is still a necessity. Make sure to show your guests where their towels are to prevent any damp wandering. Putting out an extra blanket or two ensures that they'll be comfortable if temperatures drop overnight.

Have some activities around, just in case.
You might not ever need them, but having a board game or two could come in handy if plans fall through or you ever just find yourselves staring at each other. Pick something age-appropriate with easy-to-understand rules that everyone can enjoy, like Pictionary, Apples to Apples, or Taboo.

Forgive "mistakes".
Hosting guests can be stressful, and if you are tidier than your houseguests, it can be tough to watch them not make the bed or forget to use coasters. Go ahead and explain the rules of your house that you'd like followed, but be prepared to just let things go if they forget. If you start to lose your temper, remind yourself that this is only temporary and try to enjoy the time.

Try to relax.
Your friends and family love you. Don't worry too much that Martha Stewart is going to come bursting through your door with the Health Department in tow to make sure you've properly scrubbed your baseboards. Go ahead and spruce the place up for your guests, but don't let last-minute cleaning cause you stress. A dust bunny is not the end of the world. Just be yourself and enjoy the holiday.

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