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Visiting for the Holidays - How Polite a House Guest Are You?

Updated on May 5, 2020

Visiting for the holidays is enormously fun, but have you been reasonably polite to observe fair etiquette as a guest? I've already shared some homemade Christmas ideas for our favourite men, so allow me this time to share tips on how to be a delightful house guest.

Little something means a lot. If you can afford the trip, you can afford to buy a little something. Lovely cookies perhaps, especially if there are children in the family, or bake them some! Aside from conveying warm thoughts for the season, kids will not forget you bringing them something good for Christmas. Whether it's anything homemade or purchase something along the way, your thoughtfulness will be appreciated.

It is self-explanatory not to bring another guest with you. Your hosts would love to spend time with you and not with your personal guest. Though some hosts find this acceptable, still it can be a brow raiser for some. When you say you're arriving after lunch, be there. Call to say you'll be late if you're expecting to be late.


You're bringing your dog?

Then talk with your hosts first if the dog is invited.:) The children of the house might be afraid of animals, or could be the family simply don't like animals. If they do have a dog and you're bringing yours, that makes it more likely the dogs will fight.

If your dog is invited, you’ll want to ask the host about the facilities you could use. This will help you figure out how to prepare your dog to be a good guest, as well. Thanks Angela, had it not with you, I would have missed this important etiquette.

Be visible. Do not go to bed without telling your hostess. It is politeness to leave it to your hosts that it is time to go to bed, unless your eyes are starting to fall from an exhausting trip. They would understand if you really need to rest. You would not want your host to look all over for you only to know you've gone snoring. Ask permission if you need to leave the house. It is good manners to not leave your hosts guessing whether you went out or you're in your room with the door shut.

Give your hosts the pleasure of spoiling you. Having someone visiting for the holidays can be a wonderful experience for your host. When its time for dinner, it is a great thing for your hostess to hear you enjoying the food, but always be honest. Don’t say you like shrimps when you really don’t eat shrimps. Try to get through it even if you only eat one portion and move to the next food.

You can offer to pick up something for the next meal if you feel that mealtime may be an on-going issue. When meal is over, quietly help clear the plates, but avoid putting things away without asking where they go.

Image courtesy - The Chef Aliance
Image courtesy - The Chef Aliance

Many hostess who entertain a friend for a couple of days or so would love their guest to behave like a guest and not to follow them around asking if she can help, but some would be glad if the guest would sit and chat with her while she is preparing a meal.

Share if you can. You're visiting for the holidays so definitely your host would love to drive you around. Usually, hosts insist on paying for your entertainment which is a good idea of you insisting on buying him or her coffee or dinner, at the very least. Be cheerful. Mention things like inviting them on some of your adventures. Even if they cannot make it, they would be motivated to make some plans.

Respect and observe house rules. A guest always gets special treatment. However, it is nice to be courteous and abide by the house rules. If they take their shoes off at the door, you are taking your shoes off. If everyone goes to breakfast earlier than your usual schedule, you are taking breakfast early. If they don’t smoke in the house, you don’t smoke in the house. With the right etiquette, you are less likely to offend.

Clean after yourself.

When it’s about time to go, let your hosts know what time you wish to leave. Fold up your sheets and pillowcases ready for laundry. Even if your host is a slob, still leave the room tidy. In case you have used up all the toothpaste or shampoo, it would be very generous of you to replenish them.

Image courtesy - Photo Jeanie
Image courtesy - Photo Jeanie

Be grateful.

Thank them for the wonderful time you had with them, the kids, and even the dog! Make your farewell as charming and courteous. They would love to know how you've loved your stay, the dessert, the exciting talks, along with your sincerest “Thank You.” Your hosts will be happy to know how they have made your visiting for the holidays memorable.

A gracious, handwritten bread-and butter note sent immediately following your visit is a grateful gesture.


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    • Tonipet profile imageAUTHOR

      Tonette Fornillos 

      8 years ago from The City of Generals

      Teaches hello. We've all missed some points :=) I do, whew! Perhaps it truly pays to know what to do so we can be, like what you said, considerate enough to make our visit enjoyable for our hosts. Not bad to perfect them, though. Thank you so much for the vote. Allow me to wish you and your family the best of the holidays. MERRY CHRISTMAS! Ho Ho Ho

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      8 years ago

      Great information to have when visiting. I only wish I would have had this earlier in life -- I may have missed some of these points. I love having guests, especially when they are considerate and make their stay enjoyable. Voted up.

    • Tonipet profile imageAUTHOR

      Tonette Fornillos 

      8 years ago from The City of Generals

      @Hello Angela. It pays to be polite because hosts will be delighted to invite the guest again in the future, you said it. Thanks for reminding me about the pet...just edited:=)... That was very helpful educating us with what is proper. Merry Christmas to you and your family. All the best, too!

      @Ruby, my mother used to tell me that... "more than three days of stay then the guest is overstaying. I wish none of my friends who I've visited for more than 3 days has closed their doors for me, LOL.... kidding... I know they won't haha. Thanks for dropping by... May your Christmas and New Year be as blessed as ever.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      8 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Great info. I love having guests but about three day's is long enough. Hee..Thank's..

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 

      8 years ago from Central Texas

      Great suggestions -- if all guests followed them they could rest assured they would be invited back in the future. One other thing that I've run into personally with one of my guests: If you're taking your pet with you to another's home -- ask permission first. Forewarned is forearmed and this should be common courtesy whether the visit is for an afternoon or a week! Best/Sis


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