Etiquette for Overnight Guests During the Holidays

Most of us have had the privilege of enjoying the comforts of another person’s home. Yes, it is an honor when someone invites you to visit and stay overnight. With the holidays quickly approaching,many of you will enjoy an overnight visit with a relative or friend. As a house guest, you must show respect to the host, and exhibit certain courtesies. You should make it your personal goal to be the “perfect guest” and show a high degree of consideration. Upon your departure, your host should have no concerns about inviting you back.

6 House Guest Do’s and Don’ts:

1. Before your arrival, inform your host of your itinerary. Share the specifics of your stay by letting the person know when you will arrive, your plans during your stay, and most importantly, how long you plan to visit.

2. Bring a token of appreciation not just because it is the holiday season, but because it is the proper thing to do to express your sincerest gratitude. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. A candle, box of candy, pastries or flowers are all welcomed niceties. Also, thank your host before you leave, then soon after you return home (within a week after your stay), write a thank-you note.

3. Do not “make yourself at home!” Even if your host tells you to relax and make yourself at home, DO NOT exercise those freedoms. They are earned liberties and they take time to truly acquire. Instead, bring your best manners and be respectful of your host’s home. 

4. Do not expect the host to entertain you at all times. Plan some activities together and possibly some at the home. If the host is busy, find something to do without portraying boredom (i.e.: take a walk or read a book or magazine).

5. Be neat and clean up after yourself. It is your responsibility to make your bed daily and keep your area neat and tidy. Do not leave your clothing or personal items scattered around the house. Try and keep all of your belongings in a small area.

6. Always offer to help around the house. If a nice dinner is prepared in your honor, ask if you can help clear the dishes. Before you depart, gather your bathing towels and strip the bed.  Make sure your area is as nice as it was when you arrived.

I would love to hear about your plans to enterain family and friends this holiday season so be sure to write your comments below.

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Tina Hayes is the founder and owner of The School of Etiquette and Decorum in Antioch, CA. As a passionate instructor dedicated to providing quality and professional etiquette training to her clients, Mrs. Tina Hayes promotes the awareness that social presentation and behaviors are important to be successful in today's society for all ages.