How to Have a Gracious Home when Entertaining Guests

How to have a gracious home when entertaining guests. Lots of great tips at the link!

You aim to show others your awesome manners and etiquette when you’re outside the home, but what happens when the guests come to you?

I have a friend who is an amazingly gracious host. She always seems to have extras on hand, she cooks the most incredible meals, and she thinks of the little things that make others feel special when they’re in her home.

I admit it — sometimes I think there is no way I could ever be like that. I certainly like being around people, but I just don’t know if I naturally have the gift of hospitality.

3 Steps to Having a Gracious Home

So, if you’re like me — and you’re going to have guests around for the holidays — don’t panic! Here are some simple tips that can transform your house into a gracious home and speak volumes to your beloved guests:

1. Communicate, communicate, communicate!

How to have a gracious home when entertaining guests. Lots of great tips at the link!

One tip to make their stay more peaceful and relaxing is to talk to your guests beforehand. Ask about meal preferences (including food allergies or dietary restrictions), transportation arrangements, and if there’s anything they are hoping to do locally during their visit. This will help for tip #3 below!

Make sure you write down your guests’ plans for arrival and departure times, flight numbers, and anything else they may have on the agenda during their stay, such as a business meeting or visit with other local friends. Nothing says, “I’m glad you’re visiting me!” than remembering exactly when to pick up your guests at the airport. That feels like a good first step.

2. Roll Out the Welcome Mat

What to put in a guest welcome basket when entertaining guests. How to be a gracious host or hostess!

Nothing makes a guest feel more invited then when you take the time to think of the things they might need in advance. So make their stay in your gracious home one they will never forget.

Write a little note or card to them expressing how excited your family is to have them staying with you.

Make a basket of things to put in your guest room (or wherever your guests are hitting the hay). Some ideas to include are:

  • Your contact info, like cell phone numbers and the address where they’re staying (just in case!)
  • Your Wi-Fi Password
  • A notepad and pen
  • Water bottles
  • Favorite snacks and/or drinks, maybe ones that are made in your city
  • Travel-sized toiletries (examples include shampoo, a tooth brush, contact solution, childproof Aspirin in case of headache)
  • If you live in a touristy city, some kind of unique memento of their stay might be fun to include!
  • Magazines or a great book (maybe also a book light!)
  • A mini travel sewing kit
  • An extra phone charger
  • Extra slippers or socks

For families with kids, you may also want to include:

  • Coloring books and crayons
  • A fun, age-appropriate board or card game
  • A family-friendly movie

3. Do Fun, Local Things

What do you do when guests are in town? Give us your ideas at the link!

If your guests are new to the area, pick some favorite tourist attractions to visit or treat them to a meal at a unique, local eatery. Make some time — even if it’s just a little bit — to do something great that they can only do in your city.

If your guests will be entertaining themselves for a day or two while you’re at work, include some ideas for them to do exploring of their own. Wanna sweeten the deal? Include a little gift card to that new FroYo place down the street or tickets to the local Aquarium. That way their stay will be more vacation cabana and less cabin fever.

And while we’re on the subject of prepping for guests, have your kids help you with guest preparations. Talking them through what you’re doing and why will help them grow their compassion and thoughtfulness for others. And if they need to brush up on table manners and meeting new people, check out our Polite Kids 101 online e-Course or local classes. You’ll have them in tip-top etiquette shape in no time!

So that’s what we suggest to make a gracious home. What would you add? Awesome welcome basket ideas? Fun things to do with guests in town? I know you’ve got some ideas to share, so let me know in the comments below! 

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About Aubrey Hunt
Before hopping on the crazy ride we call motherhood, I studied engineering and taught math and science to middle and high school students. Now, perhaps like you, I fill my days singing The Itsy Bitsy Spider and praying my preschooler will eat a vegetable — any vegetable!

10 thoughts on “How to Have a Gracious Home when Entertaining Guests”

  1. I love your welcome guest basket idea! The worst thing I remember about visiting others was feeling embarassed and a little bummed about having to always ask the host for stuff. I think if we had been greeted with one of these baskets after a long and tiring trip, we would have enjoyed our stay much more. I’ll definitely use these ideas. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Aubrey Hunt says:

      Thanks for the compliment! I totally agree — it feels so awkward to ask sometimes! Glad you can use the ideas. 🙂

  2. Erlene says:

    Great ideas here. We won’t have guests flying in this year, but this will come in handy when we do.

    1. Aubrey Hunt says:

      Thanks for stopping by… guess you can Pin it for later, eh? Haha. 🙂

  3. Kristina says:

    You have some great ideas here! I’d love to stay in someone’s home who did some of these things. Have a great holiday season and thanks for sharing on the #SHINEbloghop

    1. Aubrey Hunt says:

      Oh, thanks! You have a great holiday season, too! 🙂

  4. I rarely ever entertain so these are all good tips. I love going out to the homes of others I do like the idea of going to local venues though. When my family visits they usually plan their own outtings (which makes life easy for me) but maybe next time I will put together a list of places that only the locals would know about.

    1. Aubrey Hunt says:

      I think that sounds like it could be fun! Good luck with your exciting local plans. And thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

  5. Number 1 is so important! We have some really odd food allergies in my family but they are all fairly serious. I always make sure to ask when someone new is coming over for dinner. Removing surprises makes everyone feel better.

    1. Aubrey Hunt says:

      Oh, man! So you know first-hand how important asking beforehand can be. Thanks for sharing.

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