How to be a Generous Host Without Busting the Budget
By HavingFunatHome on December 01, 2011
With the holidays nearing, many families find themselves with a house full of guests and a temptation to overspend so that their visitors feel welcome and have a nice visit. Here are some creative ideas for being warmly hospitable without spending too much money.
1. Be attentive to little details.
Place a bouquet of bright fall leaves from the backyard on the guest room dresser.
- Have your kids make a welcome banner.
- Spread a couple of magazines you think your guests might enjoy on the nightstand in their room.
- If your guests are coffee drinkers, put a coffee maker and coffee in their bedroom.
- Keep a basket full of travel toiletries available in case someone forgets something.
- If you wanted to be over the top, you could even put chocolates on their pillow or try your hand at toilet paper origami!
- These ideas cost next to nothing but communicate care!
2. Become familiar with free outings in your area.
Look into factory tours.
- Find good hiking trails.
- Figure out if there are any unusual claims to fame nearby. For example, here in Austin, we have North America’s largest urban bat colony. Every night, they make a dramatic appearance and are lots of fun to watch!
- Around Christmas, keep an eye on the neighborhoods that seem to be the most decorated and drive through them together one evening.
- Ask around to find out the best sledding hill in town.
3. Opt for fun, community-building meals rather than impressive menus.
Make homemade pizzas together.
- Build a fire in the backyard and roast hot dogs.
- Set out lots of fresh ingredients, and let everyone string their own shish kabobs.
- Serve “Breakfast for Dinner.”
- Arrange for the men to be the chefs one night (or the kids if they are old enough!).
4. Make your home an enjoyable place to be.
Stock your closet with lots of cards and board games. (German board games can be especially absorbing for adults and teenagers.)
- Keep a mental list of fun projects that everyone can do at the same time while still enjoying conversation (stringing popcorn garlands, putting together a surprise gift package for a mutual friend).
- Start a fire in the fireplace and roast marshmallows.
- Allow the kids a place of their own where they can make things together, get dirty, and have adventures (a basement or a fort in the back yard).
5. Apply yourself to the task of heartily enjoying your guests.
Heartily enjoy your guests and it will make it almost impossible for them not to have a good time!
Katey enjoys hosting her own house guests as a stay-at-home wife and mother in Austin, Texas. Her blog, Having Fun at Home, is resource for fun, inexpensive ideas for families.