Hosting friends and family is something that’s always been part of my life. It’s really important to me that our friends and family feel welcome in our home – I enjoy having a house full!

I know that hosting can be a stressor for some people so I put together a few tips to make it a little easier – especially with the holidays coming up!

First, stop stressing out. The people coming to your home are there because they want to hang out with you. They’re going to overlook the mail on the counter. If there are things that drive you nuts and will annoy you if they’re not done, do them so you can have a better time at your gathering.

The next thing that usually stresses people out is food. Keep. It. Simple. Recipes that can be made ahead of time and don’t require you to be in the kitchen the entire time your company is over are the way to go. When a hostess is cooking and running all over, everybody else is on edge. It’s kind of a party killer. If you’re relaxed, your guests will be, too. Things you can pop in the oven, crock-pot recipes, snack mixes – all of those are great for gatherings.

And, if you find yourself with unexpected guests, frozen pizza is always a win. Seriously, we keep Lotzza Motzza pizzas in our freezer – grill them in the summer and bake them in the winter. Cut it in squares and serve it on an Epicurean Pizza Peel to feel extra fancy.

Finally, the bedrooms and bathrooms. I really try to make those spaces feel like a little mini vacation for our kids, extended family and friends when they stay for a weekend or a holiday. Here’s what I like to add to make our house a little more comfy for guests:

  • Comfortable sheets on the beds. I watch places like Garnet Hill, Pottery Barn and some of the lines Target has for sales on bedding.
  • I put four pillows on every bed. You never know what type of pillow someone uses so I mix the types up on the bed. Plus, four pillows looks nice.
  • A bench at the end of the bed looks great and holds guests’ luggage (nobody ever uses the dresser for a long weekend)
  • TJ Maxx is my friend for baskets. Put two sets of towels and a couple bottles of water in a basket and set it in your guest room.
  • A small trinket dish on top of the dresser or night stand is another thing that looks cute and is appreciated. You can pick these up anywhere – TJ Maxx, Target and even thrift stores.
  • As a former floral shop owner, I am a sucker for fresh flowers. Grabbing a bunch at our local farmers’ market and using them in little vases around the house (on the night stands of the bedrooms, too) is always nice. If I don’t have flowers, I’ll pick a hosta sprig or two from our landscaping and put that in a cute little vase.
  • Keeping things like toothpaste, tooth brushes, deodorant (spray kind – easier to share), contact saline and things like that in the bathroom is also something I do in case someone forgets something.

At the end of the day, you’re making memories with the people close to you. Don’t waste that time by being stressed over the little things – enjoy yourself!

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