The holidays are almost here, and 'tis the season for families to get together. For grandparents who are Snowbirds and live in a warm climate, this can mean a bustling house and a drastic change in schedule when children and grandchildren come to visit.
Having your home filled with guests can be stressful, especially with added pressures from the holidays. But with the tips below, you can prepare to have wonderful time hosting your family this season:
Make kid-friendly adjustments to your space
Delicate china cabinets, fragile figurines and carefully curated collections have a funny way of becoming targets for little ones! Moving breakable items to out-of-reach spots or adding an extra layer of protection to them can help prevent accidents caused by playful youngsters.
If you don't have these types of items already, purchasing children's toys, books and craft supplies can be a nice gesture and give your grandchildren plenty of fun activities to do. If you have a spare bedroom or office, you could establish this space as a play area.
Touch base with your children about presents
Your kids may have their own ideas about what make an appropriate gift for their children, so it's a smart idea to learn their ground rules before you start shopping. In an article for The Huffington Post Canada, Deanna Brann, a family relations expert and author, recommends asking your children how much money they're comfortable with you spending on gifts, the types of gifts that are acceptable, and how many gifts are appropriate to purchase.
Take the pressure off
Everyone has their own daily routines and rituals, and family members staying with you can often disrupt them. Likewise, your children may have holiday activities already in mind that they'd like to do while visiting. Different priorities can create conflict and aggravation, so try to take the pressure off of the situation. Aim to balance personal time and family time and remind yourself to be appreciative of having everyone together for the holidays.
It's a smart idea to openly communicate with your holiday season guests before and during their visit. You can get a sense of what they'd like to do and share your plans to reduce surprises and make compromises if necessary.
Try to shift your focus from worrying about everyone's schedules to making wonderful memories with your children and grandchildren. There are many fun winter activities, big and small, like decorating the tree, going ice skating, playing a board game or baking cookies. Maybe you'll even start a new family tradition this year!
Create comfortable guest rooms
"Your home is the place where you share the best of yourself with others," said author and interior decorate Jane Schwab, in an interview with The Chronicle Herald. "When your home is open and inviting it creates a mood and emotion that nurture all who enter."
Create a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere by preparing cozy guest rooms. Dress the bed in fresh sheets, add a fluffy blanket, pile a stack of soft towels on the vanity and put together a basket of toiletries like toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo and soap. Some holiday decorations, such as evergreen garlands and twinkle lights, can create a fun and festive mood. Schwab also suggests writing your home's WiFi password on a card and leaving it in guest rooms for convenience.
If you don't have guest rooms available, you can create relaxing sleeping spaces in your living room, study or den with air mattresses and room dividers.
Check travel insurance
Some of your guests may have to travel far distances to visit during the holidays. If you're a Snowbird, you can give yourself peace of mind by knowing your family has travel insurance.
Holiday memories can last a lifetime, so savor the moments spent with your family this season. With a positive attitude and welcoming spirit, you can appreciate this special time when your whole family is together.