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Make your guest room special for your overnighters

December 06, 2008

By MARY CAROL

GARRITY

Scripps Howard News Service

I get exactly the same thing for Christmas every year. Even though this gift is not a surprise, I look forward to it with the same eager anticipation I had as a kid, counting down the days, wishing time would move faster. Just when I can't stand the wait any longer, in walks my gift: my sister, Judy, fresh off the plane from Detroit.

Not only is Judy a terrific big sister, but she's also my best friend, so I relish the chance to finally lay my hands on her for three blissful days every Christmas. And while she's here, I like to make a big fuss over her so her visit is extra special.

If your home will be filled with loved ones during the upcoming holiday season, check out these ideas for making your guests feel welcome and appreciated.

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SPOIL THEM WITH SNUGGLY SLEEPWEAR: When Judy and I were growing up, every year at Christmas we were given a pair of baby-doll pajamas and matching robes from some neighbors who had no children of their own. So giving pajamas has become a tradition in our family. Now, when Judy comes to visit, she's greeted with new sleepwear. One year it was a laughable black-and-red buffalo-check robe, circa 1950s. Another year, it was a pair of pink leopard-print pajamas to indulge her wild side. This year, I'm getting her a pair of super-soft Pine Cone Hill pajamas and a matching fleece robe. You might consider starting a pajama-party tradition of your own by getting fun sleepwear for your overnight guests this year.

TREAT THEM TO A SPECIAL GIFT: One of my favorite ways to greet overnight guests is by placing a small gift on their pillow the first night of their stay. If you're short on time, wrap up something fun and easy, like a box of confections from your local chocolate shop, tiny antique accessories or a beautiful journal. But if you have extra time, give something extra special. How about framing an old photo that will make your guest laugh or pull at her heartstrings, like a picture of the two of you together as kids? Chances are, she'll treasure the photo and display it at home.

STOCK UP ON THEIR FAVORITES: Does your friend lust over a certain flavor of ice cream? Does she prefer organic granola and fresh fruit for breakfast? Be sure to stock your fridge with the foods and beverages that will make her feel special. But don't stop there. Fill your home with little touches that let her know you care. For instance, if she's crazy about decorating, put a pile of decorating books and magazines by her bed.

MAKE YOUR GUEST ROOM WELCOMING: I like to add little holiday touches to my guestroom when friends or family are coming to stay. Hang an adorable stocking on the doorknob or bedpost. Loop pine garland over the top of a window or a picture. Tuck vintage Christmas cards in the vanity mirror. Slip a sachet between the covers to give the bed a sensational scent.

TURN THE BATH INTO A SPA: Everyone dreams about a weekend at the spa, and now you can make your guests feel like they've slipped into paradise by stocking your bathroom with sensational spa products. Put out luxurious bath oils, soaps and lotions. Include aromatherapy candles. Place a CD player and wonderful, relaxing music on the vanity. Or, if you want to go all out, turn the night into a girls' slumber party. Put out a basket that's chock-full of everything you'll need for home facials, manicures and pedicures.

Mary Carol Garrity is the proprietor of three successful home-furnishings stores and is the author of several best-selling books on home decorating. Write her at nellhills@mail.lvnworth.com. For more stories visit scrippsnews.com.

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