The holiday season is just around the corner, and it’s once again that time of the year when you’re surrounded by family and friends, some of whom you might not have seen in a long time. If you live in the city, you might be expected to play host to family and friends visiting from abroad or from the province. Before you get overwhelmed with the mere thought of it, just remember that no task is too big with enough preparation. What’s a bit of a squeezing in anyway if it means you get to spend time in the comfort of familiar faces.
In order to be a good host, you must first know who’s coming over, and for how long. Having two senior citizens stay a week would mean different meals, activities, and sleep requirements than your thirtysomething cousins and their two kids from Canada who are only dropping by for a day or two. But before inviting them over, be aware of your own limits as well as that of your spouse and kids. People usually expect the living space to be a bit tight in these situations. But if you have a two-bedroom unit, you can’t possibly pack in a family of seven and their dog, and expect things to be pleasant. Make arrangements in advance for a hotel room or serviced apartment nearby to house the rest. This way they can drop in and hang out during the day, and everyone can sleep comfortably at night.
Rushing out to buy stuff at the last minute would be a huge mistake, especially since everyone is always shopping at this time of year, and just lining up can eat up a lot of your time. Stock up on toiletries, beverages, and snacks. Do your gift shopping as early as you possibly can. Have enough towels, pillows, and empty sockets for phone chargers for everyone. Prepare extra toothbrushes, blankets, coffee mugs, and whatever else you can anticipate. If your guests are staying for more than a few days, know there’ll be downtime when they’re going to just hang around the house. Post the wi-fi password on the refrigerator, compile a Netflix list for them, take out that Magic Sing, and dust off those board games you have in your closet. While going out and being tourists may be the bulk of your guests’ experience during their stay, hanging out and having a good time with the family can be just as meaningful.
The Magic of Mealtime
Proper meal preparation is crucial during the holidays, so it’s best to be prepared ahead of time. Know what time your guests will be at home so you can prepare your menu in advance. Announce what time breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be so everyone can be present and bond at the table. If you’re all watching a movie after dinner, no one certainly wants to wait around while you finish washing the dishes, so share the chore with the bigger kids, too. If you’re also in charge of the Noche Buena feast, plan your menu and grocery shopping in advance. It’ll be better if you can get everyone to pitch in and help out with the food, décor, and program preparations. But if you plan on spending more time touring your guests around and get too exhausted, it’s okay to order ready-made healthy meals for take-out or delivery. What’s more important is for the family to spend quality time over a meal. It’s better to reserve your energy for catching up and having fun with your guests rather than fussing over the preparation of an elaborate feast.
The To Do List
For activities beyond the home, ask what your guests want, and help them build an itinerary. Consider traffic and busy hours, and make suggestions around those. Tell them which shops, restaurants, and churches are nearby, as well as any activities they might be interested in.
Location is a key factor in either limiting or freeing what your guests can do. A place like The Residences at Commonwealth by Century, for example, is a perfect location to host extended family, and Quezon City is a great area for holiday roaming. UP Diliman is a haven for walks, whether during the day or with Christmas lights at night, and the Lantern Parade is a treat you can work your schedule around. Keep an eye out for the Christmas villages that pop up during this time of year and take the opportunity to grab some puto bumbong and bibingka while you’re at it. Bustling bazaars with stalls displaying artwork, food, gifts, and anything you can think of are also around every corner, and restaurants in places like Maginhawa Street are all excellent venues for discovering unique shopping and food experiences.
But in addition to all this, The Residences at Commonwealth by Century itself showcases common amenities such as a pool, gym and dance studio, basketball court, as well as some cool uncommon ones such as a rock and roll studio, an arts and crafts studio, show kitchen, as well as a private screening room. Aside from The Residences at Commonwealth by Century, your guests can also experience the Century Properties lifestyle through a Siglo Suites staycation in Makati, Parañaque or Mandaluyong. It will definitely make for a nice holiday gift.
Playing host over the holidays can be stressful and a chore, but it need not be. With the proper options, preparation, and execution, everyone can enjoy and have a memorable time with the whole family.