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How to be a Good Host

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 A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of hosting two friends of mine from the east coast. They were in town because one of them is a Fox News culture correspondent and she was covering the American Idol Finale. As both of these women had a large number of friends who lived in the Southern California area, they decided make a trip of it.

Only one of the girls I knew prior to the trip, and even she I only knew as an acquaintance. The other girl I didn’t know at all. For this reason I was a little nervous of how the weekend would turn out. Much to my delight, everything went swimmingly, both for me as a host and for them as guests! It inspired me to write a two-part series on how to be a good host and on how to be a good guest.

***Disclaimer: I did not necessarily do all these things, but thought about doing them after the fact.

1. Before your guests arrive ask if they have any allergies and what is their drink of choice. I was watching an episode of Mad Men in which Don Draper called his brother to tell him he was coming over. Don’s brother exclaimed “but I don’t even know what you drink!” It got me thinking, how often do I keep a stock of beverages to accomodate my guests? Of course, this leads me to always want to have a fully-stocked bar, but in the meantime, a simple question can go a long way in making your guest feel at home.

2. If you do not have a guest bedroom, invest in a good air mattress. I have one the lifts 3ft high. Along with plenty of good blankets, I have two pillows for guests and fresh sheets. All these things put in a corner ready to go before my guests arrive.

3. Clean your house thoroughly and provide plenty of empty table space. I live in a one bedroom apartment. It stands to reason that my guests’ things are going to be housed in the living room. Because of this I make sure I have at least one table completely cleared off for their things, so they don’t feel like their suitcases are taking up all the space in the room. When the guests enter, the table does contain fresh bath towels, hand towels, and wash cloths.

4. Have a gift ready for guests to make them feel welcome. There is no worse feeling than knowing your are inconveniencing someone. By having a gift ready, you let your guests know you are happy to have them there. I had made cookies, places them in two boxes, and wrapped the boxes in a bow, placed on top of their fresh towels.

5. Make a spare key, and attach it to a keychain. This will relieve so much stress of both the host and the guest. Trust me.

6. Be ready with a list of recommendations. Your guests may have heard from afar about the best places to eat or the sights to see, but you live in the area – you certainly know better. Make a mental list of restaurants, bars, tourist attractions, hikes, etc. that your guests may be interested in. If you are super organized, write them down in a nice pamphlet with directions and phone numbers.

7. Always wake up early, always get ready first, and always make breakfast. I like to get up earlier than my guests, get showered, ready for the day, and while they are showering, make breakfast. Bank on something simple like eggs, yogurt and fruit. If your guests do not eat breakfast, at least have the coffee pot going. Eating out can be a budget-buster, so the simple act of providing a light breakfast can go a long way in making your guests’ experience a great one.

8. Be available. Sometimes your guests have plans of their own, but in case they have some down-time. Sit down and get to know them a little better. It will make all the difference for everyone.

There you have it! Please add more tips to the comments section if you come up with them.

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