June 14, 2010

Hostess with the Mostess!



I just got back from the most wonderful little weekend jaunt over to the Nashville area where I was wined, dined and thoroughly entertained by my good friend Jill. More on some of the cutie-pie places she took me in another post, but for now I wanted to talk about something that this trip made me think about: being a houseguest.


There is a wide array of acceptable (and not so acceptable) social graces where houseguests are concerned, but I feel like it mostly boils down to common sense things and basic good manners. When staying at someone's house it is important to remember that you are not at a hotel. The hosts are already nice enough to allow you to stay under their roof for free, so don't treat them as your personal servant for the duration. I always make it a practice to take a little gift of some sort for the host or hostess. It doesn't have to be anything huge, but something to let your host know you were thinking of him and appreciate the gesture of hospitality. If you don’t want to do a gift, that’s fine, but a prompt heart-felt thank-you note is imperative. The idea is to get invited back!

{some potential hostess gifties} hostess gifts

Be flexible! If your hosts get up super early, try not to sleep all day. If they like to sleep in, pack a book or some other quiet project that you can occupy yourself with until they wake up. Be considerate! Your host has a certain way of doing things and it's your job as the guest not to step in and change up the mix. It's perfectly fine to lend a hand (for instance in the kitchen), but if your host insists that you sit back while she cooks or does the dishes, let her. You'll have a chance to do things differently when you host guests at your place.


{The Queen’s Bedroom a’ la The White House}

One subject that comes into question in the area of houseguests is linens. The widely accepted thing to do is strip the bed on your last day and leave the sheets stuffed into the pillowcases or something. Personally, I would rather the guest just make the bed back up. As a host, I may or may not have time to wash the sheets immediately and that way, the room doesn't look so disheveled until I'm ready to do the laundry. A 70-something southern belle from Memphis shared with me that when visiting her son and daughter-in-law overnight, she makes it a habit to take her own sheets with her so that when it is time to leave, the sheets on the bed would not have been used. This seems like taking things to the extreme, but this particular belle is steeped in southern tradition and propriety.

So, tell me...what is your secret to being a great houseguest? Or maybe you love to play host to all your friends! What special touches make your house the one guests flock to?