Tuesday, June 19, 2007

How to be a welcomed guest

It doesn't cost much to be a considerate houseguest. Here are a few things I like to do whenever we are invited to stay overnight at someone's home:

  • Bring a bread-and-butter gift. This is a token gift to thank your hosts. It it is ALWAYS less expensive to find this at home and bring it along, unless you stop by Home Depot for a blooming basket or container herb garden. It doesn't have to be extravagant--just thoughtful. Something to eat is always appropriate. I brought my mother-in-law a paper placemat and napkin set from Isabella de Borchgrave's new line at Target (along with various other gifts).
  • Help prepare at least one of the meals during your stay. This can be an alternative to taking everyone out to eat at a restaurant, especially with busy schedules. A breakfast casserole is always easy, coupled with fresh fruit and a bread.
  • Plan a picnic lunch away from your hosts. This gives them a break from meal preparation and time to run needed errands.
  • Bring your own snacks, if possible. You won't have to raid your host's pantry if there are children hungry at night.
  • Offer to help with any outstanding projects around the home (at your host's mention). Sometimes it takes a second person for moral support!
  • Make up the bed, strip the sheets, or launder them--depending on your hostess. Hostesses always insist, "Oh, no, you didn't have to do that!" but isn't it so nice if you do? I know I always collapse after guests leave!
  • Follow up with a thank-you note immediately upon leaving. Be specific about your trip. Include a photo or two, if possible.
  • Do all of the above if you are staying with friends. Do them twice as well if you are staying with family. Don't they deserve your best, too?


Stephanie said...

Great list and all true!

Molly said...

This is completely not related but... the months on your sidebar are in Spanish. Was that intentional?

I'm glad you had a nice trip.



Anne Marie@Married to the Empire said...

Good advice! The only thing I disagree with is the sheet-washing thing. I'm very particular about my laundry, and I really don't want anyone else to do it for me. It is a nice gesture, but unnecessary, IMO. Now, if you want to strip the bed for the host, I don't have a problem with that.

But I'm probably just a control freak because I don't think I'd be too keen on people cooking in my kitchen, either. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Sounds like great advice to me! I know I always enjoy our guests who are a more self-sufficient than those who are not!

Anonymous said...

P.S. glad you had a good trip and it was worth it despite the passport hassles. :)

3boysmama said...

Good advice, however I think you need to know your audience well. I think if I did some of these things for my mother-in-law, she would be insulted. (aren't my snacks good enough for the kids?, for example) I once tried to send thank you notes for Christmas gifts and she told me not to do that anymore.

Laura Talbert said...

Excellent points!

Anonymous said...

Love the list. We wash & remake the beds, also, or at a minimum get the sheets going in the washer if we're leaving early in the morning. I always enjoy having that taken care of when guests are gone.

If we're staying with my parents or grandfather, we'll clean the bathroom (they do the same here) and throw our towels in the wash with the sheets.

Several people I know leave a sweet thank you note in the bedroom for us to find as we freshen up. I always love finding one. For some reason, I like it better than getting one in the mail. Pictures later are nice, though!

*carrie* said...


This is a wonderful list--good ideas! We're leaving today for a week's stay at my parents', so I'll soon have a chance to live some of these out.

Fatcat said...

I would like for you to come visit me. I have a lot of outstanding projects and need a lot of moral support!


Anonymous said...

So very glad you are home.

As well as bringing a hostes gift, we bring gifts to the children if they have any as well. Sometimes we have taken over one of the childrens room so it's nice to thank them too. We also leave a thank you note on the bed (after we make it with fresh sheets) giving examples of our wonderful stay. We then follow it up with some photos once we get home.

Unknown said...

Good points. I try to do some of those things too.

Amy said...

AMEN! I agree so much with this post. I try to do these things myself when we visit somewhere. I want people to want me to come back with my family. I know these are things I would appreciate if someone was visiting with me.

You can come over and change my sheets ANY TIME, Miss Meredith! We would love to have you!

D said...

Excellent ideas! But I also agree with the commenter who said 'know your audience'. I usually don't want people to wash the sheets...I like doing some of those things myself...it's part of my gift to them.

There are some friends that stay that have 'family' status. She helps cook and clean and even uses my bathroom instead of the guest one (we both like to avoid the kid messes! we have 10 between us!)

Anonymous said...

We usually stay with elderly relatives, for whom an extra load of laundry is a big deal--like an extra trip to a downstairs laundromat or a laundry room in the basement. "Know your audience" is great advice, though.

Tiffany said...

This is a very interesting post. I do agree with many that I may not be comfortable with others washing the sheets...and probably wouldn't be able to sit still while they cooked in my kitchen - but with parents the rules are always different. Bringing your own snacks is a great tip, though. We do this with our dog as well even though the in-laws always have "gifts" for her.

When we have guests over, they generally offer to help while we cook. This is always appreciated and I almost always find something they can help with - even though I am a control freak :)