Do you have guests coming in during the holidays? I have a few tips for you to set things up with intention, stress free and feeling good!

My youngest loves decorating the house for guests! Since the first day we moved into our villa in Bali, we’ve had a constant stream of friends and family popping by, staying for a night or two.

And it’s been a crash course of learning for me.

We went from living in a tiny city apartment that couldn’t fit one other person – to having an open house policy where we’ve been inviting begging everyone to come.

Oh! You’re coming to Bali? You have to stay at ours!! 

I’ve suddenly been doing this very adult-like thing called hosting – and what I’ve learned is that it feels incredibly good to see people happy, looked after, comfortable and well-fed in your own home.

And even though it can get stressful to think about all the planning involved for guests – I’ve found it’s even more stressful not to have those things planned out when they do arrive.

Here are a few hosting tips that I’ve picked up and found to be helpful.

So that when you have friends or family pop by, you feel all those good-feelings from being a well prepared, thoughtful host.

Holiday Guest Checklist

Design a cozy space 

The entire house doesn’t need to be picture perfect – but where are the specific areas in your home where your guests will most likely be spending the most time in?

For me, there’s three spots to make as cozy as possible:

  • By the pool
  • In the open kitchen
  • In the living room

In those spaces specifically, I’ll concentrate most of my efforts.

  • I’ll lay out a picnic mat on the grass by the pool, a small table for drinks and a plate of bites to eat.
  • By the kitchen, I’ll place some flowers where people gather and sit to talk.
  • And I’ll make sure to have the living room tidied up and comfortable with toys for kids to play with.

Clean up for guests

A very good thing about having guest over is that it gives us an incentive to freshen things up!

I love putting fresh fragrant flowers in the guest bathroom (a tip I got from every cafe in Bali!) and it’s a good chance to tidy up and declutter the bathrooms as well as clear through the kitchen – so that cooking is simpler.

You’ll feel much lighter and less cluttered when your guests arrive!

And, definitely avoid chemical cleaners!! Let’s show people how we do things around here 🙂

Here are some very effective non-toxic recipes to make:

Food for Guests


What do we feed them?

The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to cook what you eat. I don’t normally cook a rack of lamb for dinner and baked alaskan for dessert – so it might be a mistake to try and make that on the day my guests are coming…

I made that mistake.

I do think it’s really smart to have a couple recipe ideas all planned out…  recipes that you’re comfortable making and can  “effortlessly” throw together.

Because no one wants a stressed out host!

If you have guests staying with you for a few nights, I love the idea of meal prepping for the freezer, because if you end up eating out one night,  nothing get’s wasted. But if you eat at home, it will be easier for you to put something on the table.

Starting a week before they arrive, you might meal prep:

  • Marinated chicken legs in the freezer, to thaw out on the day and throw into a hot oven. 
  • A few balls of frozen pizza dough, for fun DIY pizzas at dinner.
  • A simple lasagna, ready for the oven…
  • Also, if people are spending the night, stock up on pantry goods for your guest to make their own breakfasts or lunch: granola, yogurt, fruit, bread, cheeses… the basics.

Stock up on better essentials

For gatherings, we’re probably going to need extras – like napkins and even disposable plates and cups if you’ve got a big group and you don’t want to end up washing dishes all day long.

Avoid the last minute rush to buy plastic cups!

Plan to stock up on those essentials now, so that you can make thoughtful choices about what you do buy. Look for eco-friendly options made from biodegradable materials.

They’re beautiful and make a really nice statement about what matters to you.

If you do lay out disposable cups, set out some markers as well so that people can write their name on their cups and not use up more than they need to. We’re not being fancy around here, right? 

Keep it simple

It’s lovely to have everything set up,  but this isn’t a hotel – it’s a home! So it doesn’t need to be perfect. I think people feel more comfortable when they see their host happy and relaxed and no one wants to feel fussed over.

Well, no one that I know anyway 🙂

I hope these tips are useful for you and I’d love to know if you have any hosting tips, that you do for your guests?
Let us know in the comments below! 

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