House Guest Hacks

‘Tis the season for getting together with friends and family to celebrate over food, drinks…and sometimes in cramped quarters. What to do when you want to maintain the festive holiday spirit even while sharing beds and bathrooms with out of towners? Try these stress-free house guest hacks that will undoubtedly make your guests feel at home.

House Guest Hacks for the Holidays

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House Guest Hack #1: Communicate Clearly

As in any type of relationship, clearly communicating is key to having a harmonious relationship. Share your wifi password on a note in the guest bedroom, give your guests an idea if you are early risers or night owls so they know who should brew the coffee and when to expect everyone to crawl under the covers, and ask for input on opinions during their stay. Even if your guest is high maintenance, remember that they are guests…and they can’t stay forever!


House Guest Hack #2: Take Hotel Tips

No, I don’t mean tips like “Hey, you should book this hotel!” (but if you do here is a great website for deals on hotel rooms or this one for home rentals). I mean giving your guests the hotel treatment. Fresh towels, small toiletries, a water pitcher with a pair of glasses, a delectable chocolate on their pillow…you get the idea.


A warm and comforting welcome is the best way to create a pleasant and stress free holiday environment, and it doesn’t even take a lot of work! My hack? I create a Tupperware bin filled with these “hotel-like items,” and simply pull it out of the basement when overnight guests are coming.

Houseguest Hacks

House Guest Hack #3: Plan “Together Time” and “Alone Time”

Let’s be honest—too much family or friend time can be incredibly overwhelming, especially when copious amounts of wine or loud children are involved. So clearly communicate about “together” plans while also building in some independent time for guests to do their thing and for you to do yours. And don’t stress about driving them anywhere—they saved money on a hotel so they can spring for the Lyft! Here are some great places to take out of town guests during the holiday season in Chicagoland if you can’t think of ways to stay busy and out of the house.


House Guest Hack #4: Let Go of the Guilt

When we first bought our house, it looked like a home straight out of a glossy magazine. But now that we have lived in it for three years (and have discovered a love of Hot Wheels), our baseboards have more scratches than my boys have Legos. I used to be embarrassed by it, but I have come to realize that those bumps and bruises are what makes our house a home—and that’s why people want to stay there instead of a bland hotel. Your imperfect home is the perfect place to create lasting holiday memories.

House Guest Hacks - Tips for Holiday Hosting

Be sure to check out my holiday hacks and Christmas in Chicago Bucket List before your guests arrive…and maybe send over this list of hostess gifts, too.

Enjoy Bonding!
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  1. Christa says

    This is such a perfect post and wonderful timing. I love having guests for like the first day. Lol. And I’m always uncomfortable being a guest. Having clear communication and a plan will ease tensions a lot!

  2. Ali Gilbert says

    Okay so this is awesome. We just had house guests over the weekend and we did all this wrong. We needed to communicate better about things. Thanks for these tips- they are great!

  3. Rachel says

    We haven’t ever had anyone stay at our house. I will say that as being a house guest, I do love when they put out little touches like who will make the coffee and the wifi password.

  4. Julie says

    Well said. Enjoy the Legos days because they are just a phase. My boys have loved them, but moved on from them. I always tried to keep in mind that toy messes are just a phase. We still get toy messes at my house, but now I more cherish them because kids grow up so fast! It’s fun to host houseguests, they also get a glimpse into your family life and what it’s like to parent kids, and that’s a good thing. Allowing for alone time is also key. We have family visit several times a year and alone time is important for sure.

  5. Shani | Sunshine & Munchkins says

    Most of our family and friends live nearby so we don’t get guests very often, but every once in a while we get to host. I love your tip about ‘together time’ and ‘alone time’. It can get a little overwhelming to feel like you need to entertain guests the entire time they stay with you.

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