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Life In Your Home

House Guest Etiquette: 8 Rules for Staying with Friends or Family

By 2 minute read

Last updated on July 19th, 2019

The colors, the decorations, and those precious moments that are just irreplaceable – it’s that time of year again and holiday festivities are just around the corner!  Whether you have plans to visit the extended family or celebrate with friends at their homes, Lisa Richey offers some tips to be the perfect house guest this holiday season.

  1. Confirm your travel dates with your host.  We live in busy times and plans often change.  Plan activities ahead of time and discuss with your host.  You may be on vacation but your host may not be.  Meld your schedules when possible. Consider the routine of your host.  Are they an early riser or midnight owl?  Be aware of morning routines and early alarm clocks.
  2. If you or your children are sick, or contagious, stay home.
  3. Bring, and wear presentable pajamas.
  4. Offer to help out, especially during meal time.  Set the table, chop veggies, clear the table, and help load the dishwasher.
  5. Keep the areas you are using clean and tidy.  If you are lounging around watching a movie, fold the lap blanket and put it back where you found it when you are done.  If your shoes are still on the floor, pick them up. Make up your bed, and tidy the guest room every morning (and the rooms of your children).
  6. Bring a hostess gift with you.  This is a great way to show your appreciation.  Tea towels, candles, and cookbooks are always welcome.
  7. The morning of your departure, strip the bed linens and grab the towels, and take them to the laundry room.  Don’t forget to wipe down the bathroom sink.
  8. To “tweet” or not to “tweet.”  Stay in tune with your host.  Are they open to social media?  Do they “tweet”? Ask.  Be considerate before you openly communicate about your visit.

Lastly, follow up.  Write a handwritten thank you note.  Mention the meals, adventures, and memories.  Thank them for their time, the use of their home and hospitality. We hope your holiday season is happy and healthy, no matter where your travels take you. To learn more about Lisa Richey, The American Academy of Etiquette, and Manners To Go click here.

Lisa Richey, founder of the American Academy of Etiquette contributed to this story. Lisa has been teaching good manners to children, adults, and educators since 1999. She is the author and creator of the popular program, Manners To Go.

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