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How to

be a Great Guest

This Holiday Season

How to be a Great Guest This Holiday Season

Are you planning to stay with friends or family this holiday season? This guide to guest etiquette from us at Pottery Barn will make it easier for you to leave your host or hostess with a warm and lasting impression.

Picking a Small Host Gift

Bringing a small token of appreciation for your host is always a good idea. During the holiday season, your host gift can be anything you think your host will enjoy. Plan to bring something special in addition to any gifts you’re already bringing along. Your gift-giving options as a guest are varied. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

It’s thoughtful to give a gift that’s consistent with your host’s lifestyle. For example, if your host follows a minimalist lifestyle and strives to produce as little waste as possible, consider giving a gift that is both reusable and useful, such as a candle in a decorative jar that can double as a vase. A small gift, especially something you know your host will love, is something they’ll appreciate. If you’re staying with a friend because your budget is limited, even a simple gift like a bouquet of flowers or a hand-drawn thank you card is a lovely idea.

Going with the Flow

As a guest in someone’s home, it’s important to respect boundaries. This can mean retreating to the guest bedroom if you sense that the couple hosting you needs to have a private discussion or stepping out of the house to have an early morning phone conversation. It can also mean cutting your visit short if you’re starting to feel that your original plan to stay with your friend for a month isn’t running as smoothly as you hoped. Plan to spend no more than a week or two as a guest in a friend’s home. The smaller the living space, the shorter your visit might be.

Before You Leave

One of the keys to being a respectful guest is leaving the space you occupied in the same, if not better, condition than when you arrived. Gather any garbage you’ve accumulated during your stay and place it in an appropriate bin or container. If you rearranged anything in the bathroom or guest room, put those items back where you found them.

The goal is to be as thoughtful and tidy as possible, so take a minute before leaving to make sure everything cleaned up. Consider whether you’ve taken care of any messes or changes you’ve made. Strip bedding off the bed and, if it’s a sleeper sofa, put the sofa back together. Replace all the cushions and pillows. Used towels can go to the laundry room along with the bedding. If you feel comfortable doing so and you know your host doesn’t mind, you can even put your linens directly in the washing machine. Avoid running the washer if you aren’t sure how your host would want his or her linens washed. Put water glasses in the dishwasher or hand wash and dry them as appropriate. These tasks won’t take long, and your host will appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Leaving on the Right Note

It’s always nice to end your visit on a positive note. Be considerate of your host’s schedule, and be willing to clear out of the house a bit early if your host needs to go to work before your scheduled departure. As you’re saying goodbye to your host, be sure to say a clear “Thank you for hosting.” Simply share how much you enjoyed your visit. You and your friend will be looking forward to another visit in no time!