8 tips for surviving holiday houseguests (without going cray cray)

The struggle is real during the holidays

Everyone’s favorite time of the year is here! The holidays mean delicious food, fun traditions, and quality time with loved ones. For some, however, the holidays also mean relatives invading their home, cramped spaces, and long lines for the bathroom. Use these eight tips to survive holiday houseguests without losing your mind.

1. Turn your guest room into a retreat 🛀

Turn your guest room into a resort-like retreat with freshly laundered sheets, towels, and some entertainment, like family-friendly books or movies, that will make their quarters feel like home. Keep extra rolls of toilet paper visible and within easy reach, so guests have no excuse to go rummaging through cabinets. Quick tip: If their room is particularly relaxing, your company is more likely to spend time in there, giving you some much-needed alone time.

2. Create a festive atmosphere 🎄

Scented candles in warm winter scents like cinnamon, cranberry, and pumpkin spice really set the tone for the holidays. You can also play soft music in the background while gathering together to set a festive mood — whether that’s holiday classics or your family favorites.

3. Stock up on snacks 🍫

There’s nothing worse than a house bursting at the seams with hangry houseguests. Keep your kitchen stocked with easy snacks so you won’t have to whip up a full holiday dinner every time someone’s stomach starts rumbling. Hummus and veggies are a healthy snack, or for those with a sweet tooth, keep a jar of cookies handy.

If you do need to host a holiday dinner, do it on a budget with these tips.

4. Be flexible 🤸‍♀️

It’s especially important to be a flexible person who goes with the flow and adapts to the needs of others when guests are staying with you. Last-minute changes to holiday plans will happen, and it’s easy to get frustrated by that. However, as a gracious host, be as accommodating as possible.

5. Get out of the house 🌞

When it’s cold outside, guests may try to stay in the house. Spending too much time in the same house with the same people may cause some tension. Be sure to plan an activity outside of the home to give everyone some breathing room. Take in the local sights by going to a holiday market or a Christmas light trail. You can also suggest a favorite restaurant or bar for your guests to try out. If something piques their interests, your guests are likely to leave the house and explore on their own. If you and your guests are stuck inside because of the weather, a game of charades or pictionary is an easy alternative.

6. Have a special space of your own 💆‍♀️

When having houseguests gets overwhelming, you may want to seek refuge in your own home. Try keeping one or two rooms off-limits to your guests. The most obvious place is the master bedroom — a big, cozy bed is the perfect place to escape an obnoxious houseguest. Enjoy your special space.

7. Let your guests help out 🤝

Most houseguests feel better when they’re able to help cook breakfast or clean the kitchen after preparing a big meal — let ‘em pitch in! You don’t have to do everything alone, and doing some housework may help release some of that pent-up holiday energy.

8. Worst case scenario: Have an escape route 🗺

If you need to escape the chaos of holiday houseguests, plan an excuse to “run an errand” and slip away for a few hours (whether you actually run that errand is up to you). Use the time to recharge and clear your mind by sipping a cup of coffee or going for a drive — it’s just what the doctor ordered.

You could also use this checklist to tame stress during the holidays.