Hosting the Perfect Holiday Gathering

Christmas Holiday Home

The holiday season is a special time. People put up festive decorations and venture to local stores, searching for holiday menu items. There are sales to entice shoppers to buy presents, and special events such as parades and craft shows.

For many, the holiday season also involves hosting family. In 2021, more than 53 million Americans traveled over the Thanksgiving holiday. Hosting family for the holidays involves much preparation, particularly if you’re hosting for the first time. Fortunately, you can ensure you’re ready to welcome family into your home and enjoy your time together with some careful planning.

What should I plan for when hosting family for holiday dinners?

Start your holiday hosting preparations by focusing on essential needs. Hosting family involves serving meals. Verify the number of expected guests to ensure you have enough food for everyone. In addition to your holiday dinner, consider adding these items to your pantry:

  • Meat and cheese tray
  • Sugar cookies
  • Gingerbread cookies
  • Vegetables and dip
  • Christmas popcorn
  • Nuts

Many people have dietary issues. Some of your guests could have food allergies or intolerances, while others may be vegans or vegetarians. Verifying dietary needs in advance ensures you have suitable menu options for all guests. You may also need unique menu options for hosting families with children. 

Your essential needs for hosting family should include toiletries. Your guests will use more toilet paper and hand soap, so it’s essential to stock up on these items before they arrive. Additionally, you should ensure you have plenty of clean hand towels available. 

What should I plan for when hosting family overnight?

You’ll need suitable sleeping space for overnight guests. Ideally, you’ll have a guest room where extended family can sleep. However, if you don’t have a spare room, there are other ways to accommodate overnight guests. 

Add a sleeper sofa to your living room, recreation room, or home office. You can also consider using inflatable mattresses if you don’t have a sofa bed.

You may keep a guest bed in your children’s bedrooms. Trundle beds are a fantastic way to add sleeping space, particularly if you’re hosting children who’d enjoy bunking with your kids instead of sharing a room with their parents.

What do I need in a guest bedroom?

Guest Room for the Family

The primary item you need in your guest bedroom is a guest bed. Guest bedroom sleeping options include sofa beds, regular beds, and Murphy Beds. Murphy Beds are wall beds. Since you can store these beds when you aren’t using them, they’re ideal for home offices doubling as guest rooms. They also allow you to use your guest room as an exercise space when you don’t need it for visitors.

Once you’ve chosen a bed, you’ll need linens, pillows, and other accessories. Investing in holiday bedding is a fantastic way to add a festive touch to your guest room. Buying a selection of pillows is another excellent idea because you can ensure guests’ comfort with pillows suited to their preferences.

A duvet is the perfect bed cover for your guest room. Duvets have removable covers, making cleaning the bedding between guests easy. You can choose a neutral duvet cover, such as ivory or beige, or select something matching your holiday bedding, such as a solid red or green cover. 

Ideally, you’ll have a bedside table or another piece of furniture where guests can set items such as jewelry and cell phones. A dresser or bedside table is also ideal for setting bath towels for your guests.

Be sure to add extra hangers if your guest room has a closet. If you’re using a room without a closet, consider adding a wardrobe to give guests a place to hang clothes during their stay.

What should I keep in mind when hosting people in my home?

When you welcome people into your home, you add more energy to your living space. This can be positive or negative energy, and holiday hosting can be stressful if conflicts arise

Be honest about possible disputes and take steps to prevent issues before they occur. Set clear rules for guests entering your home. You can forbid guests from bringing up sensitive subjects, such as religion or politics. You may also opt to plan separate celebrations with family members who don’t get along.

You may need to take extra steps to prepare your home if you’re hosting family members with youngsters. Review a babyproofing checklist to ensure your home’s safety for all guests.

Older guests may also need some special accommodations. Fall hazards increase as people age. Ensuring you have excellent lighting in hallways and staircases can help prevent falls. Add guard rails to staircases to offer extra support. Installing a handrail in the bathroom also provides additional support for older guests.  

Although chatting with family members can occupy some guests, planning activities is a great way to create special memories and keep guests entertained. You may decide to have family members decorate your Christmas tree or continue family traditions, such as playing board games or watching football. 

What common issues arise during holiday events with family?

Mother Nature can disrupt your travel plans during the holiday season. Snow storms can ground airplanes and make road travel hazardous. Consequently, some guests may arrive late, or you may need to host more guests overnight than expected. This is why it’s a great idea to have extra food, beverages, and toiletries on hand.

No matter how well you plan, you can expect messes during a large holiday gathering. Have extra paper towels and washcloths handy to tackle any spills that arise.

Hosting a thanksgiving family gathering is time-consuming, and meal prep involves a lot of work. Consider the number of guests carefully and decide whether to invest in disposable plates and cutlery. You may need to buy more dishes and cutlery to accommodate guests or ask others to bring supplies to ensure you have everything you need.

Whether celebrating with friends or family, hosting holiday gatherings can be exciting and challenging. With careful planning, you’ll ensure you’re ready to host the perfect holiday gathering.

family gathering for the holidays


Bykofsky, M., (2020). 6 Steps to Babyproofing Your House: A Checklist for Every Room.

Forecast number of Thanksgiving holiday travelers in the United States from 2005 to 2021 (in millions). (2022).

Wong, B., (2019). The 7 Most Common Issues Families Have Around the Holidays.