House Guests for Christmas? The Do’s and Don’t’s.
Christmas can be one of the most stressful times of the year, especially if your guests are staying for a few days. We all know that Christmas planning makes an enormous difference to the quality of the experience but remember that the planning is only worthwhile if you enjoy the big day!
Be realistic with the number of guests
If you try to limit the number of guests to reflect the space you have available it will mean you can look after everyone well. Guests will generally want to feel as though they are on holiday or at least home from home! If you have a spare bedroom, this is the best place to start. Remove any clutter and ensure there is enough space and a few plump hangers in the wardrobe. Give the room a good airing by opening windows on a breezy day but check the air pollution level in your area first. Make sure that bed linen and towels are freshly laundered, preferably at 60 degrees to remove bacteria and any dust mites. Use an organic laundry liquid for best results and add some organic fabric conditioner as a treat. Unless you know the fragrance preferences of your guests – why not try a non scented product?
Make the bedrooms welcoming
Bedroom surfaces should be wiped clean with an organic multi-surface spray. If the room has not been used for a while, consider cleaning soft furnishings and curtains with a steam cleaner – you will be amazed by the difference it makes! If you are expecting any vegan guests make sure to polish furniture with a product without beeswax – try Greenscents Creamy Polish for a long lasting shine and a wonderful infused fragrance. Once all the surfaces are sparkling, vacuum clean the carpet or flooring preferably using a machine with a HEPA filter. Providing some mini/sample size toiletries or hand wash looks very professional and is helpful if your guests have forgotten anything. Greenscents organic Castile Soap is fantastic as it can be used for so many purposes – from stain removal to cleaning teeth! A real winner at Christmas with no palm oil and 96% certified organic ingredients.
Those extra thoughtful touches
Flowers by the bed can be a real treat for house guests. Choose anything from the garden if possible – twigs and berries are perfect. Don’t forget to add some magazines or short stories in case of sleepless nights. It is best to keep bedrooms cool at night but do make sure to provide extra blankets at the bottom of the bed in case your guests suffer from cold. All these thoughtful touches will make the grumpiest guest happy!
Bathrooms must be spotless
Cleaning bathrooms before everybody arrives is a must. Change damp towels and make sure there is plenty of soap/hand wash and loo paper. Loo cleaner is essential if you have guests. Try to blitz the bathrooms every day to keep things hygienic and looking good. If you have a window in the bathroom make sure the room is aired at least once a day to reduce condensation and mould. Otherwise use an organic multi-surface spray to clean walls and windows and dry off with a t-towel that can be washed (at 60 degrees) and reused.
How to keep your cool and have happy guests
It’s best to relax about family rooms that have been decorated for Christmas and not worry too much about mess over the festive period. It’s important to create a supportive, democratic feel at Christmas where everyone helps out. But definitely have a good laugh when things go wrong (which inevitably they will do).
Do take care with too much fragrance at Christmas. Potpourri, scented candles, alcohol and spicy food can all create an overpowering atmosphere which can be difficult for those with fragrance sensitivities, children, the elderly and pets too. Decide where you want candles, fresh flowers and table decorations in advance and makes sure that these are placed safely at the right time.
How to have a sustainable Christmas
If you want to have a sustainable Christmas it is best to do this discretely. Asking children and the elderly to admire your ‘no waste’ approach or the rented Christmas tree may not illicit the responses you had hoped for.
Probably the most important message this Christmas is don’t overbuy! Whether this is food or presents try to make a list and stick to it. Food waste is particularly bad at Christmas so although we want everyone to have lots of choice – think about leftovers and find recipes like the one above or decadent fried Christmas pudding!
When it comes to presents, research your purchases online and choose small sustainable companies that support local people. Ethical Consumer suggest you do boycott Amazon if you can! Look out for third party certifications that mean something when you are buying skin care, toiletries and make up. What’s in the bottle really counts so don’t be overawed by packaging concerns – the ingredients are at least as important.