You've opened up your hearth and home to friends and family for the holidays, but the lodging you're providing is less than ideal. No, there's nothing wrong with your neighborhood, and everyone really does like your cooking. It's the little things you overlook that ensure your current houseguests will be future patrons of the hotel down the street.
Between your efforts to save a bit of money on the heating bill and the maddening repetition of a few Christmas classics, some of your boarders feel as though they're trapped in a Halloween house of horrors instead of a peaceful holiday haven. But don't blame yourself — no one told you. That is, until now. Yes, we're here to save your Christmas season from disaster. So, if you want to learn what your guests really think about your holiday hospitality and what you can do to improve their opinions, keep reading.
Check out the next page to learn how your pets are tormenting your houseguests. And we promise, there's no biting involved.
Your Pets Smell
It's fine that you're an animal lover, really. But some of your guests aren't too keen on the menagerie that dwells in your home. Odors from your cats' litter box waft unpleasantly throughout the house, effectively ruining everyone's appetites. Well, not yours — and not your cousin's, but he's so doped up on allergy medicine that he couldn't smell the difference between the cat box and a holiday roast.
The only thing worse than the odors are the PDAs. Please stop letting your dog kiss you on the mouth. Are you aware of where that tongue has been? Gross.
No one expects you to kick your furry boarders to the curb, but you could do a little more to shield your guests from your pets. Changing the litter everyday would be a great place to start, and confining your dog downstairs would put an end to all the unpleasant (and extremely unpopular) crotch sniffing that's been going on.
The House Is Freezing
Perhaps you sleep better in the cold. Maybe you get hot easily. You may just even enjoy watching your breath fog in chilly climes. Whatever the reason, if you're having guests over for the holidays, you need to turn up the heat, even if the thought of the post-Christmas electric bill chills you to the core.
Your visitors don't appreciate being forced to live in a makeshift ice hotel, regardless if their stay is on the house. Keep cranking up the heat until the constant sound of chattering teeth is silenced and people take off a few of their layers. Your gas or electric company may advise you to keep the inside temp at a cool 68 degrees Fahrenheit, but you're going to have to adjust the thermostat for your guests' comfort.
Once the holidays are over, you can go back to your frosty ways. But for now, keep the house at a reasonable temperature (somewhere in the low 70s), even if it isn't your ideal setting.
They Just Want to Relax
The entire holiday season is jam-packed with events, and your guests have been looking forward to a restful retreat. But as soon as they arrive, you're hustling them into your waiting minivan for the first of many planned activities! You want to make sure they see all the important sights and get a taste of the local happenings, but the truth is they'd rather take a load off on the couch. After all, they're on vacation.
Our advice? Toss out the itinerary and kick back with a bunch of old Christmas movies. Nothing says holiday family bonding like "It's a Wonderful Life."
However, if you worry that a few holiday classics won't be enough to see them through the entirety of their visit, you should have some back-up entertainment options — just in case. Board games, an accessible computer with an Internet connection, books, magazines and maybe even an Xbox will come in handy if you think there's a chance that your loved ones' weekend trip might turn into a multi-day stay.
Holiday Music Gets Old — Fast
We all love Christmas music, but there are only so many times your guests can listen to the same holiday tunes before marching away from the little drummer boy or tossing some figgy pudding at your speakers.
A good Christmas compilation gets everyone in a festive mood — the first time it's played. After that, it's just obnoxious. So, if Rudolph is making multiple rounds on your Christmas playlist, do your guests a favor and put on some regular, non-holiday music for awhile. You and anyone within earshot of your stereo will be glad you did.
It's Impossible to Sleep in Your Guest Bed
You know those old pancake-flat pillows you keep in the guest room? Well, throw them out because no one — not even your most exhausted visitors — will be able to get any sleep on them. Think about it: If the pillows aren't good enough for you to sleep on, why would they suffice for anyone else?
If you plan on trying to lure holiday visitors back to your abode in the future, pick up some nice down pillows (they're great for allergy-prone guests) or fluffy, high-quality synthetic ones. You also can't go wrong with memory foam, though it may be a little pricey (especially if you've been stocking your guest room with pancake pillows to save a buck or two).
Also, remember to wash your pillowcases every few weeks, even if they haven't been used, and put fresh, clean sheets on the bed before your loved ones arrive. Dust particles won't ignore your guest bed, no matter how uncomfortable your pillows may be.
HowStuffWorks finds out more about the Catalan custom of the caganer, the figure in the Nativity scene taking a poop.