Host for the Holidays: 12 Tips for a Calm and Comfy Visit

Are you opening your doors to family members or friends this holiday season? With our ideas for prepping your home, you'll be ready to welcome them with open arms.

Spare Some Space

Clear out some space in your entryway. Depending on the climate where you live, your guests may have bulky coats, boots, and other cold-weather accessories. To keep that stuff neatly out the way during their stay, arrange for plenty of extra room by your front door and in your coat closet beforehand.

Related: 47 Ways to Maximize Space in Your Kitchen

Childproof Your Place

If your guests include babies or small children, be sure to store away any potentially harmful objects or decor in your home, and do any necessary childproofing of furniture.

...And Don't Forget the Pets

In the same way that parents will likely arrive prepared, visitors with pets will probably also pack everything they need. Still, a nice gesture would be to ask if they need any extra pet necessities or food.

Set the Mood

Use scented candles, room sprays, or diffusers in seasonal scents to give off a warm, holiday-ready feel and get everyone geared up for festivities.

Make the Beds

Before guests arrive, make up their beds with a fresh set of sheets and set out towels and washcloths for each guest.

Add a Personal Touch

Have an assortment of personal items at the ready in your guest room-- everyday toiletries such as toothbrushes and toothpaste, tissues, lotion, and fresh soaps are a given, but extra touches like warm slippers and a good book are thoughtful and appreciated.

Keep a Food Stash

Make guests feel at home by stocking a cabinet with snacks and pantry staples for whenever the munchies strike. Also, have things like fruit and veggies on hand, and simply show guests where it's all located when they arrive so they can feel free to dig in.

19 Tips for Perfect Laundry Every Time

Stock Cocktail Supplies

Make sure your bar has plenty of mixers, liquors, and tools so that your guests can help themselves to their cocktail of choice.

Play Virtual Tour Guide

If their stay is longer than a few nights, or if you plan on going to work during their visit, your houseguests may want to venture out on their own. Provide information on local cafes, restaurants, theaters, and places to shop -- they'll kill some time while exploring, and you'll get some peace and quiet.

Create an Information Station

Prepare a quick reference for Wi-Fi passwords, home alarm codes, and any other essential household information so that they have something quick to turn to.

Do Something Fun

To help bond and bring out the holiday spirit at home, plan an activity your family and your guests can do together -- and involve the kids too. Whether you decorate cookies or wrap gifts as a group, everyone will feel a sense of togetherness that will diffuse any tension or stress from the craziness of the season.

Give Them a Sweet Send-Off

Make sure your guests leave on a sweet note by sending them home with some dessert leftovers for the road.

More from Martha Stewart:
15 Kitchen Shortcuts That Will Change the Way You Cook
20 Super-Efficient, Super-Effective Ways to Clean All the Things
65 Quick and Easy Holiday Decorating Ideas from Martha Stewart
22 Gift-Wrapping Ideas for Turning Any Gift Into Something Spectacular

Kicks off a holiday visit with a fittingly festive entrance. These outdoor ideas are sure to wow your guests.