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    There’s a reason we’re all willing to wait through long lines and flight delays at the airport and fight through traffic jams on the highway each year: the best part of the holiday season is reuniting with far-flung friends and family. Planning to host your cherished guests this year? Ease their travel-related troubles and gift them with hospitality by creating a cozy, hotel-like atmosphere within your home. Here are some tips to spruce up your shared spaces this season:

     

     Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

    Clear out the clutter.

    Nothing provides a more inviting, “Welcome!” than squeaky clean common areas. Purge the piles of mail in your front hall and the overhaul the overflowing bag of recyclables on your kitchen counter. Need additional storage to contain the mess but running out of drawers and closets? Add a small, space-saving cabinet to your basement or garage for a quick fix. Don’t forget to get down and dirty, too: your guests are certainly worthy of a deep bathroom scrub, so block out an afternoon with your favorite sponge and rubber gloves.

     

    Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

    A good scent goes a long way.

    Memories aren’t just made in the stories we tell or the laughs we share—they’re in our noses, too! Olfactory memories have a unique way of bringing back a beloved moment, often reminding us of comfort and joy. Remind your guests later of their warm and cozy holiday stay with a pine-scented candle in the living room or cinnamon in the kitchen. For a crisp-smelling guest room, a “clean laundry” scent is especially pleasing. 

     

     

    It’s all about the amenities.

    Being a houseguest, however close in relation a person is to the host, can be awkward. Set your family and friends at ease by offering them personal amenities up front to eliminate unnecessary interruptions, allowing them the privacy they require to feel at home. Thoughtfulness is the key: provide their guest room with extra towels and an extra set of bed sheets—just in case. Leave the Wi-Fi information on a card, along with the names of a few favorite places to eat and drink, just as a boutique hotel would. Making sure the bathroom is stocked with simple toiletries—but also with extra toilet paper and a plunger—will also help guarantee your guests will want to return.  

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