Hosting Holiday Houseguests – Charm Etiquette with Steve McKenzie’s

Dec 23 2015

by Erika Preval

Three months after Charm Etiquette’s launch, I excitedly headed to Jekyll Island to attend the inaugural Southern Coterie Summit. I’d not written a thing since college and was hoping to learn how I might reach my target demographic through blogging. Without a doubt, I walked away with lots of advice to get me confidently on my way. What I’d not anticipated gaining, however, were the lasting friendships that have grown since that time – well worth the investment!

One such friendship is with Jill McKenzie. She and her husband, Steve, have so kindly supported my entrepreneurial efforts. In fact, they recently hosted a group of Charm teens within their storefront. We recently collaborated to share some etiquette tips for hosting holiday houseguests with their audience, and I’d love to pass those along to you here. Happiest of holidays to you and yours!

(Originally posted here)

Hosting any type of event during the holiday season can be extremely stressful; hosting holiday house guests can increase your stress level tenfold. Consider all of the potential situations that may arise, and you just may find yourself saying there’s “no room for you at the inn.” Fret no more, we’ve turned to THE expert in etiquette – CEO and Founder of Atlanta-based Charm Etiquette, Erika Preval – for the best advice when dealing with holiday house guest conundrums.

stevemckenzies - erika

After reading her delightful guest blog post on stealthily handling those potential house guest problems, you’ll be able to brush off what would’ve previously seemed like a major issue with grace:

Holiday house guests are on their way! You’ve stocked the fridge, put out fresh towels and placed a carafe of water on the bedside table of the guest room – perfect Southern hospitality. You’re fully prepared to receive guests, but it’s often those surprises hosts didn’t anticipate that can shift things from charming to alarming. Here’s a primer on how to handle any house guest snafu gracefully by being a relaxed and considerate host.

stevemckenzies - clock

Early to bed, Early to rise! Try to anticipate what your guests will need to be self-sufficient. If they’re early risers, be sure to put out any needed tableware to eliminate the need of rummaging through your cupboards. Also, having some easy to prep foods available (think croissants, quiche, fresh fruit, etc.) and giving a tutorial on using your coffee maker will allow them to enjoy their typical morning routine until you awake.

Conversely, for the guest who stays up past your bedtime, sharing knowledge of how to operate your TV remotes, the Wi-Fi password and reading materials should keep them entertained in your absence. You’ll want to be certain that you’ve stocked your bar cart so that they might enjoy a nightcap, as well.

stevemckenzies - cup of tea

Is there a doctor in the building? Your house guest becoming ill during their stay is something neither of you can control. It is, however, the perfect time for you to show compassion and make your guest feel as welcome and comfortable as possible. Offer to prepare tea or soup and go to the drugstore for any medications that might ease symptoms. Prepare the guest room with plenty of reading materials and a television to keep them entertained, well rested and contained, should anything be potentially contagious. Making a guest feel they need to relocate to a hotel while they’re sick would be a major faux pas, unless their symptoms were a serious threat to the health of others within the household.

stevemckenzies - lasagna

Is there meat in this? Dinner is ready and you bring to the table your famous lasagna bolognese, only to learn your guest is vegetarian. This scenario is often difficult and awkward for both sides. Ideally, your guest would’ve discussed their dietary restrictions and preferences prior to their arrival. However, as the host, your role is to always ensure your guest feels comfortable, so take a deep breath and consider other quick options for their meal. There is likely a workaround if you have prepared or have the fixings for a green salad or an ample amount of vegetable side dishes.

A sincere thank you to Erika for sharing her wealth of etiquette knowledge in this holiday house guest blog post for steve mckenzie’s! As you can see, she’s one smart cookie and we’re so grateful to have become friends with such a charming person. If you’d like to learn more about Erika and the fantastic services she provides through Charm Etiquette, please check out her website here.

Good luck with your house guests and happy holidays!

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Erika Preval View More Blog Posts from this Author

Erika Preval is a Certified Etiquette Consultant in Atlanta, Georgia and contributing writer for The Southern Coterie and Southern Living. Through her company, Charm Etiquette, she conduct experiential events that ensure leadership and social skills in youth and young adults, as well as adult-only events known as Social Studies: Finishing School for Adults. With Charm, she's put a modern spin on manners that makes each event both fun and relevant for guests.

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