With the holidays right around the corner, many of us are either packing up to head somewhere for a holiday weekend, or we’re packing up reusable grocery bags to head out for an enormous shopping trip. If you’re the lucky one hosting a holiday dinner this year, you know there’s a lot to get in order before the house guests arrive – a lot to cook and a lot to clean! Take these often-overlooked tips to heart as you’re getting your space in tip-top shape for a pleasant, festive day.

1. Stock up on toiletries.

Can there be anything more frustrating than running out of toilet paper, or anything more impressive than having extra toothbrushes on hand when a guest jokes about needing one? Masterfully preparing the bathroom for an extra handful of visitors means more than just having enough soap. Anticipate your guests’ needs: have floss, feminine products, mouthwash, and extra towels prepared and within reach. If there are kids on the list, wipes and stain-remover never hurt to have around, either. Guests in need might not thank you in person, but they’ll be grateful for the supplies in case of an emergency.

2. Stock up on snacks.

We all know that brunch or dinner is the main event, but keeping munchies around the house will let your guests know you’re aware they’ve got to wait! Consider putting crackers and cheese, nuts, and other small snacks in the main gathering room for everyone to enjoy while they chat and to tide them over until it’s time to feast. Having a variety of teas and beverages (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) available – and taking allergies into consideration - is smart, too.

3. Lay out the entertainment.

If there’s lots of time between your guests’ arrival time and the main meal, snacks and company are always enhanced with a good selection of group games, media options, and conversation starters. You know your guests the best – if video games are better than Scrabble, or croquet will facilitate more engagement than a deck of “What if” cards, so be it! If you’re a movie buff, show off your collections. If the house will be filled with family and friends, dig out the photo albums!

4. Prepare one room for privacy (and emergency naps).

Not every bedroom has to be tidy - in fact, there’s probably one room in your house that becomes a storage unit for all that extra stuff lying around shared spaces when you’re expecting guests! Even if no one is spending the night, cleaning and preparing one room to be the go-to for private phone calls, post-dinner rest, or decompressing is a courtesy to guests who may not be as socially-energized. Make sure the bed is freshly-dressed, made, and allergen-free (guest bedrooms can gather them if unoccupied for some time), there are at least two clean pillows, the floor is vacuumed or swept, the temperature is comfortable and there’s proper air circulation. A candle doesn’t hurt, either. Added bonus? Keep a cell phone charger where it can easily be found and plugged in.

In the end, we know the food and good company are what matter most. But anticipating your guests’ needs, sensitivities (like allergies - food and otherwise!), and wants will make sure your guests are happy to come back to your next event. Happy holidays from all of us at Aller-Ease!