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Home-for-the-Holidays Hospitality

Date: December 13, 2016      Publication: Bottom Line's Household Magic      Source:  Joan Wilen & Lydia Wilen      Print:

Holidays mean vacation time…and houseguests! We know that you can’t wait to make your loved ones feel at home. Here are some special ways to welcome them with a holiday touch…

Fun Christmas photo craft: As guests show up at your house for your holiday celebration—especially those you haven’t seen in a long time—snap pictures of them just before the hello hug with your cell phone or a Polaroid camera. (Yes, Polaroid film and cameras still are available—or check out this camera at Fujifilm.com/products/instant_photo/cameras). Warn your guests just before you click the shutter so that they’re not startled by a sudden shock of light! Print the photos on your computer or color copier (or use your Polaroids), and then mat them with red and green construction paper (or whatever you have around the house…doubled-up leftover wrapping paper works, too). You may want to put the photos in the center of stars or other shapes. If you print the photos off your computer, try printing them in black-and-white—its striking look contrasts beautifully with the colored background paper. Punch a hole in each mat, thread a red, green or gold ribbon through it, and attach each to a tabletop Christmas tree, creating a “family tree.” It will be a conversation piece…and the photos will serve as a fond memory of this year’s Christmas celebration!

Welcome gifts for overnight guests: A lovely way to welcome an overnight guest is to leave a goody bag on his/her bed or dresser. It really takes no time at all to assemble and is quite fun to do. Fill the bag with gender-appropriate sleepover items, such as one or two magazines (in keeping with your guest’s interests), a sweet treat, some night cream, a sleep mask, a packaged toothbrush and a little card wishing your guest “pleasant dreams.”

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Make your kitchen smell like the holidays: One of our favorite ways to get into the holiday spirit is to fill the kitchen with smells of the season. But we don’t like the mess of simmering a mix in a pot that could bubble away to the point of burning. Here’s another way…In a microwave-safe bowl or large mug, put one cup of water, one tea bag (make sure there’s no metal staple), one teaspoon of cinnamon and one teaspoon of allspice (or cloves or any other spice you like). Nuke it on high for two minutes. Then open the microwave door, and wait one minute before removing the scented bowl or mug and setting it on the counter. The spicy scent will permeate your kitchen and lift your spirits!

Joan Wilen and Lydia Wilen are health investigators based in New York City who have spent decades collecting "cures from the cupboard." They are authors of Bottom Line's Treasury of Home Remedies & Natural Cures and contributors to the free e-letter Bottom Line Life Insider.