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Houseguest Etiquette

As the holidays approach, many of us will find ourselves at family gatherings, sometimes even staying a night or two with family or friends.  With the cooking of turkeys and reuniting with relatives, come opportunities to make pleasant memories and avoid potential conflict.  

Be Our Guest.

Remember when we are invited into a loved one's home, it is an honor that should be taken with great responsibility.  The home is often one's most valuable and cherished possession.  We, as guests, should be very aware of how our actions and presence in our host's home communicate our appreciation.

Be Present.

The best memories are made when gathered around the table and anytime when we are focused on being fully present with one another.  Unfortunately, if we are being completely honest, many of us spend more time looking at our phones than interacting with our friends and family when gathered together.  Let's make a conscious effort and commitment to put devices away and out of sight when visiting.  

Be Considerate.

This is a big one.  As we share spaces with our friends and family we have to remember to be considerate guests.  Hosting can be stressful.  Our job as guests is to minimize the host's stress in every possible way.  Here's how:

Be Proactive.

Offer to lend a hand.  Many times hosts are just waiting for you to ask how you can help.  Consider being specific even if your host says she or he is 'good'.  Offer to prepare a dish, lend a hand clearing or setting the table, washing or drying dishes, or by taking a fussy toddler outside to play.  There are a variety of ways to help.  Be creative and proactive in approaching the host with your willingness to help.

Be Tidy.

Although you are on vacation, your host is not.  Your host will have an extensive amount of cleaning and tidying to do when you leave.  Try your best to anticipate what she or he might appreciate.  Make efforts not to overwhelm your host by keeping your guest quarters tidy during your stay.  Imagine how you might feel seeing a disheveled room in your own home.  Make every effort to keep your space presentable during your stay.  At the end of your visit ask if you can strip your bed or move towels to the laundry room. 

Be on Your Way.

Benjamin Franklin said, 'Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days'.  Be sensitive to your hosts.  As much as everyone is enjoying one another, be certain to end your visit on a high note and make your departure timely.  Your hosts will need some downtime after they get things cleaned up and before they return to work and their everyday responsibilities.

Be Thankful.

Don't forget to take the time to thank your hosts for their hospitality.  Leave a note or small gift behind as a token of your appreciation.  You could also mail a thank you note once you return home or have a bouquet of flowers delivered.  Regardless of the method make the thank you prompt and sincere.  

Enjoying holidays with the ones you love is one of the best parts of the holiday season.  Taking time to be considerate and appreciative will ensure it is a joy and not a burden on your host.   

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