Originally published November 21, 2011 at 7:05 PM | Page modified November 22, 2011 at 7:07 AM

101 Ideas: Help holiday guests feel at home

Ensure a stress-free weekend during the holidays for both you and your guests with these simple hosting rules of thumb.

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Ensure a stress-free weekend during the holidays for both you and your guests with these simple hosting rules of thumb.

Know Your Limits

The first rule of thumb, says entertaining expert Dana Christine, is to know the limits of your home and don't invite more guests than you or the house can accommodate. Most important, establish arrival and departure dates and avoid inviting friends and family for an open-ended stay.

Create a Retreat

"To help rejuvenate their spirits, give the guest room a bed-and-breakfast feel,"says interior designer Kevin Simon. Dress the bed with fresh linens and blankets and use baskets to hold towels and toiletries. For the ultimate guest experience, provide robes and slippers.

Offer Drinks on Arrival

So guests don't feel like they have to forage for food the minute they arrive, be sure to supply them with snacks and beverages on a tray.

Stock Up on Toys

If your home is an ode to artful arrangements and small children are on the way, this is a good time to put away your most precious objects. A basket of dollar-store toys and books will occupy them while the adults catch up.

Provide Designated Storage Space

Equip the room with a bench or luggage rack for suitcases; or, for guests staying more than one or two days, clear out a few dresser drawers so they can completely unpack.

Make Guests Feel at Home

Leave out magazines and books and gather postcards so guests can have a take-home memento.

Rely on a Simple Breakfast Buffet

It's best to rely on simple meals and appetizers for your guests that can be prepared before they arrive and just heated come time to eat. For breakfast, try doughnuts, bagels, pastries and a variety pack of single-serving cereal boxes for an easy morning feast that stays fresh for late-sleeping guests.

Make the Bathroom Guest-Ready

Simple indulgences like fresh flowers and candles make guests feel welcome.

Make Guests Feel Comfortable in the Kitchen

So you're not waiting on your guests hand and foot, make a list of where items are in the kitchen and let guests help themselves.

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