Put Out the Welcome Mat

If your welcome mat is anything like mine, it gathered quite a bit of dust in 2020. That being the case, you may feel that you’ve acquired a little “rust” when it comes to welcoming guests into your home – especially overnight friends and family. I get it. And yet, you don’t need to miss out on the long-awaited opportunity to spread your welcome mat again. Whether it’s a late summer visit or one that celebrates the holidays, consider how you can “shake off the rust” and engage in what matters most: reconnecting with others.

Chill out. Begin by checking your perspective and reminding yourself that having guests in your home isn’t about impressing them. It’s about enjoying one another’s company and creating new memories with the people you cherish. It is the same for your guests, so stay focused on that and lighten up a little.

Ask a few questions. You can also ease your hosting worries by reaching out to your guests before their visit. Along with expressing your excitement about their upcoming stay, inquire about their needs, preferences, and routines. Things change; so don’t assume that your understanding is up to date. Guests may say that they’ve taken up walking in the early morning and would love to have a cuppa joe to get them moving. They may even tell you that they’ve gone vegan or are on the keto diet. All of this is important for you to know so that you can plan accordingly.

Look at your home with fresh eyes. Housekeeping perfection doesn’t need to be the goal, but “clean, calm, and fresh” will put both you and your guests at ease. Besides, knowing that “people are staying” may be just the prompt you need to organize that hall closet and add a few welcoming touches to your foyer.

Make space, literally. As a former innkeeper, I learned the hard way that all of my well-considered visual vignettes got in the way of our guests’ “stuff.” Be sure to lay out a luggage rack or clear off a sturdy table or other flat surface for bags and suitcases. Maybe add a tray to a dresser so that your guests can park their keys, wallet and change. While you are at it, make sure to provide some closet space along with hangers and perhaps hooks. All of these small gestures will make staying with you easy and comfortable.

Add hotel-like touches. Consider a few of the following additions to add to your guests’ comfort:

  • Small alarm clock – because not everyone has or uses the alarm function on their phone!
  • A variety of magazines – tailored to your guests’ interests, if possible
  • A small basket with cute, sample-size toiletries – because who doesn’t love these?
  • A small bouquet of cut flowers at the bedside
  • A carafe of water and glasses
  • A shower cap – I know, it sounds crazy, but inn guests often asked for them
  • A blow dryer in the guest bath – because, on the other hand, not everyone remembers to pack theirs

Consider “the gift bag” – I love to fill a gift bag with things I know my guests will appreciate. When my sister visited this spring, hers was filled with small delights: a set of scented bath foam, body lotion and hand cream; a bath puff; a nightshirt, a small book of poems, and so on. For someone else, that bag may have held a deck of cards, a pair of fuzzy socks, a pack of gum…you get the idea.

Then, sit back and relax as you look forward to reconnecting!




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