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Be a great houseguest

With Thanksgiving upon us, I thought I’d write about what I think a person can do to be a great houseguest. Whether you’re staying with family or friends, these thoughtful things can make a big difference.


1) Bring everything you will need with you: Don’t assume your hosts will have extra shampoo or another hairdryer you can use. There is nothing worse for a host, than to be asked to dig their hairdryer out from their vanity while they are knee deep in cooking a giant Thanksgiving feast for everyone. This also goes for everything having to do with children. If you have picky eaters, bring a few snacks just case. Don’t assume they’ll have extra chargers to fit your various devices. Bring what you need.

2) Offer to bring/buy something: This involves some communication before your visit. Although we are flying to our Thanksgiving destination this year, I still offered to help with the meal. With a little advanced notice, I can order a dessert or pick up wine for the big day. This helps takes care of at least one thing for the host/hostess. Now, I just need to google liquor stores close to our hotel, and calculate how much wine I should buy for 12 people.

3) Don’t buy them some random houseguest gift: The days of giving your host/hostess a tea towel as a thank you, are over. No one wants to worry about displaying the gift you got them last year or the year before. Most mothers or mothers-in-law appreciate a gift certificate to a nearby restaurant. A few weeks later, after serving everyone else, they can sit down and have a great meal that they don’t have to cook or clean up after.

4) If you bring kids, make sure you bring things to entertain them: This isn’t too hard these days with iPads or similar gaming or movie viewing devices. You might throw in a card or dice game that your children enjoy also. They don’t take up a lot of space and could entertain your kids, or everyone in the event that your host doesn’t have any.

5) Use your knowledge about your hosts to your advantage: We are fortunate to have a friend with a lake house that we get to visit at least once a year. While our hostess won’t ever let me bring any food, I know what kind of things she uses on a regular basis. Once I brought her a bottle of the liquor that she uses in her signature cocktails. She also really likes those styrofoam cups with cute sayings on them. Although they are a little expensive for her to buy all of the time, they make a great gift. So I always try to bring a sleeve of cups when we visit.

6) Send a Thank You note: After you have arrived home from your visit, write a Thank You note. Stationary still exists, and it will be remembered as a thoughtful gesture. Getting actual mail (other than bills) is a rare occurrence these days. Your extra effort will be noted. If you stayed with your hosts instead of in a hotel, you already saved some serious cash. You can afford a thank you card and a stamp.


So that’s about all I’ve got today about being a good houseguest. Travel safely and Happy Thanksgiving week everyone!!

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