House Party Ready: Tips for Hosting Friends & Family This Holiday


Sponsored by: Daniel Ravenel Sotheby’s International Realty

The holidays mean one thing: guests. And plenty of them. Friends and family love to come to Charleston where the holiday weather is mild, the event calendar is full and the Southern hospitality is flowing. Expect your house to be filled with friends this season, whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner, a holiday party or Christmas morning brunch.

As you’re planning for guests, think about how you can set up the house so that it’s not cramped or crowded. Many new homes are designed for easy entertaining with large kitchens and open floor plans.

If you live in an older, historic home, you’re likely to have a separate dining room or a formal living room. In either case, it’s not hard to create a warm, welcoming environment for guests.

Here are few easy tips for hosting guests this holiday season:

  • For a party, make use of all your entertaining space. Consider putting the food in the dining room and a small bar in the living room. This promotes flow so everyone isn’t bogged down at the kitchen island, for example.
  • Don’t forget to open the doors to the patio if the weather is still mild. Make use of your outdoor living space, giving everyone more room to mingle.
  • Create festive stations in other rooms or areas. A hot cocoa bar with marshmallows and cookies is perfect for family-friendly parties. Or set up a photo-friendly area near the Christmas tree or fireplace mantel decorated for the season. You can even add fun props like a Santa hat, elf ears or signs with sayings like #Smiths4Santa2016. If possible, hire a photographer and then send each guest their photo as a thank-you for attending the party.

If you’re hosting overnight visitors during the holiday season, make sure you ready your guest suite with everything your family members will need for their stay.

  • Create a space where guests can go to relax and get away for a few minutes. Sometimes people need a break from all the holiday togetherness. Stock the room with some books or magazines. You can even add a small TV. This way your friends or family know it’s OK to retreat to the guest room for a break, to catch their favorite TV show or even squeeze in a quick nap.
  • Showcase local products. Stock the bathroom with locally made soaps and candles. Put out a bouquet of fresh flowers you picked up at the farmers market.
  • Leave some snacks out in the kitchen – a bowl of fruit and some granola bars in a bowl, for example. Unless they stay at your house frequently, they may not know where everything is and most people hate to rummage through someone else’s pantry. So, make it easy to grab a snack in between meals.
  • Keep a local visitor guide or brochures on hand of places your guests might like to visit. This is especially nice for first-time Charleston visitors. Or if you have to work a day or two, your guests will feel free to explore the city on their own.

At the end of the day, everyone is simply happy to spend time together during the holiday season. So don’t stress over buying new guest towels or serving platters. Focus on the fact that you can open your home to loved ones, inviting them into your favorite space for some holiday cheer.

In the market for a new home that makes hosting visitors easy? Find a home that fits your needs with the help of an experienced local agency like Daniel Ravenel Sotheby’s International Realty.

Since 1983, Daniel Ravenel and his team have helped clients find their dream Charleston homes, from the battery to the beaches. They understand what makes a house fit for a family and have the expertise to help you secure it.

For more information, visit or call 800-382-2279.