Holiday houseguest season is upon us. Rest easy with our editors' favorite no-fuss tips to help overnight visitors feel at home.

By BH&G Editors
November 01, 2018
holiday entryway with stockings and garland on railing

Whether you're welcoming guests for a quick visit or a week of holiday fun, it's important visitors feel cozy in your quarters. Fresh linens and baked goods go a long way, but what about travelers with children? Furry friends? Go the extra mile with our editor-backed tips for creating a home away from home for overnight guests.

coffee station with rustic barnwood and mirror
Credit: Brie Williams

Set Up a Coffee Station

"When I have people staying with me I set up a little coffee station near my Keurig in the kitchen. Nothing fancy, just a few of my favorite coffees, sugar, creamer, spoons, and mugs. That way if my guests are up before me, they can help themselves to a cup of coffee… and I can sleep a little later!" 

— Sarah Martens, holidays and entertaining editor,

Remember Little Ones

"Most of my guests come with babies so I always buy a few of the appropriate-size diapers and wipes and put together a box of baby bathtime things, like a mat to put on the floor of the tub, bath toys, and baby shampoo. I also set up a portable bassinet with a clean sheet​​​​​​ and buy baby- and toddler-friendly groceries. Parents have way too much to worry about already when traveling with babies. I want to make it as easy for them as I can so they’ll keep coming back to visit." 

— Sheena Chihak, senior food editor,

Consider Dietary Restrictions

"I always make sure to stock my refrigerator with foods that fit my guests’ dietary needs. It seems simple, but no one wants to go to someone’s house and not be able to eat anything. If the allergy is severe, I even label and designate a zone of the counter as 'nut-free' or 'gluten-free' and label specific butters, jams, anything others might double-dip into—and therefore contaminate—as only to be used by the guest with the allergy. My family has a lot of food allergies and dietary restrictions, and the last thing anyone wants to be worried about on the holidays is spending it sick!" 

— Mallory Abreu, associate home editor, Better Homes and Gardens

tray of sliced vegetables with dip
Credit: Jason Donnelly

Have Snacks at the Ready

"Keep ready-to-go containers of pre-sliced fruits, veggies, and cheeses in the fridge so you can easily replenish snacks mid-party without having to dirty your kitchen."  

— Allison Maze Vancura, senior associate special projects editor,

Go Local

"I like to have items from my favorite local dairy or bottling company on hand. Every city I’ve ever lived in has a few delicious, unique items—traditional eggnog, coffee creamers, dips, specialty ice cream flavors, ciders, and juices—that are simply not available anywhere else on the planet. So I stock the fridge with my favorites and encourage guests to help themselves by setting out cute holiday mugs and leaving a reminder to fill up on eggnog, cider, or coffee whenever the mood strikes. The only downside to this plan (aside from the fat content of real eggnog) is that you WILL be asked to bring gallons of cider and quarts of peppermint ice cream the next time you visit friends and family. So add a good travel cooler to your holiday wish list now!" 

— Brian Kramer, senior editor, Better Homes & Gardens Do It Yourself 

floral bedding with pink sheets and serving tray

Details Matter (Don't Forget the WiFi Password!)

"Prior to their arrival, I ask specifics about their arrival and departure times so I know what the expectations are for the trip. I let them know where to park as street parking is limited to one side of the street in my neighborhood. I also provide them with our door code so they can get in and out at their convenience. For overnight guests, I change out the sheets a few days in advance and leave fresh towels on the guest bed, magazines on the nightstand, and a piece of paper with our WiFi login and password handy." 

— Rachel Haugo, deputy editor,

Prep for Pooches

"I come from a family of dog lovers, so if my siblings bring their pets home for the holidays I make sure to have the right amount and brand of food on hand. An extra leash and collar don't hurt either."

— Caitlin Sole, senior associate home editor,

Add a Personal Touch

“I love greeting guests with a thoughtful touch that lets them feel at home—and that I’ve listened to their loves and preferences they’ve mentioned in the past. Something as simple as stocking their favorite flavor of tea or baking a batch of their go-to cookies is a sweet way to say, ‘Welcome. You’re treasured.’”

— Karla Walsh, associate food editor,


Be the first to comment!