Let your guests know that you're happy they're with you by leaving a small "welcome gift" in their bedroom. And I mean small! A sachet, paperback book, flyers of local attractions at museums or a clipping with movie listings at the movie theater. And a pretty vase with fresh flowers is always a welcome gift! Don't forget a short note to greet them.
Make a schedule of meals for the time your guests will be with you. That doesn't mean that you have to cook for them all. If your visitors are just going to be with you for a couple of days, you might be able to prepare most things ahead of time. If the visit will be longer, include dining out options, both informal and special, call for pizza, and ask your guests to plan and prepare a meal or two. Make a check list of menus and ingredients, how many you'll have to feed, who will be in charge, and who will clean up.
There's no better way to make a house guest feel uncomfortable than to be working, cleaning, and cooking the whole time your guests are with you. Give you and your guests a chance to relax and really enjoy each other. No one will care if the kitchen is sparkling or the sheets are ironed. And when there is work to do, accept every offer wash the dishes or set the table. Be a team and let everyone enjoy!
Make a written list of things to do and try to have a loose schedule for each day of the visit. Don't waste time planning at the last minute or the time will fly by. Once you've all decided what you'll do, make sure everyone is ready to go as scheduled.
Don't schedule every minute of the visit. Be sure you can spend time just visiting, playing card games, assembling a puzzle, reading a book, or doing crossword puzzles. Ask one guest to go on errands with you so you can visit one-on-one. Suggest a special movie for cousins of the same age. Send someone on a mission with one of your children. This "down time" will surely create special memories.
Whenever my brothers come to visit, I have a list of things that I need help with. Ron is the computer whiz and can get anything straightened out. Barry does the electrical and plumbing fix-it jobs. I don't think they mind and it's a great help for me. If your house guest has particular talents, ask for some help.
Do you notice how little ones always want to show you their favorite new toy or read their newest book? Allow for plenty of time doing just what they want. Ask about their friends, their school work, their sports, and their thoughts. This special one-on-one time is what memories are made of.
With extra people in the house, you might feel overwhelmed. Check out schedules for plays, concerts, movies, or museum exhibitions. If you are able, buy the tickets so that there's no excuse for not going. Be sure everyone knows the schedule.
Depending on the weather where you live, plan a long hike, a bike ride, go ice skating at a local rink, or even plan a picnic in the local park. If it's too chilly, drive a way to a new town for luncheon at a charming cafe, hike indoors around the local mall, or visit a rec center where everyone can work out on their machine or activity of choice.
For an activity that doesn't cost a penny, give your guests a tour of your lives. Visit your children's school, show off your daughter's music school or your son's workout gym. Take a break with a stop at a favorite coffee shop or ice cream parlor. Or plan a day tour of your hometown's hot spots or historic landmarks.