Despite all the pillow plumping and Febreze spritzing you may do over the rest of the year, I think we can agree that the holiday season brings on a frenzy like no other. You may “tidy” at other times, but your house is likely never cleaner than when you’re expecting your in-laws for a sleepover.

There’s something about knowing that the people who raised your spouse will be staying with you, that makes us reconsider all of our nesting choices.

Will your mother-in-law roll her eyes at the new painting? Will your father-in-law scoff at the Whisky in your bar? Is that a scuffmark you see on the coffee table? What are you, animals?

The worst part of all of this? Your In-laws either wield their power with so much force that you’ll never please them or are completely oblivious to the impact of their wayward glances and comments.

Either way, there’s nothing left to do but to put your best foot forward. (Sorry, it’s too late to hide or flee the country.)

5 Tips to get your house holiday guest ready:

These five tips will help make sure the house is clean enough for holiday visitors but not so clean that they suspect this isn’t how you always live your life.

“This is what rooms in my house always look like,” she said. And then she laughed and laughed.

Make it Comfortable:

Choose comfort over perfection. If you create a space for them where they’ll feel at home, they’ll overlook the fact that your paint colours don’t match. (Just kidding: No, they won’t but maybe they’ll only whisper about it after you’ve left the room.) Think cozy slippers, a comfy robe, fresh flowers, water on the nightstand… These small touches can ease their transition into living in an unfamiliar space over the holidays.

Prep Early, Check Often:

The morning of their arrival is no time to discover that your kids have used all the nice sheets and that your in-laws only bedding options are a choice between ink-stains and Paw Patrol. Make up the room as early as possible and then rope it off to the rest of the family. Doublecheck the room every day until their arrival. Ditto for your father-in-law’s favourite cookies on the top shelf of the pantry. Your family’s ability to thwart your best intentions is legendary at this time of the year.

The enemy of all clean rooms.

Easy on the fragrance.

You may have heard that signature home scents are a thing, but your visitors haven’t. People can have real sensitivities when it comes to smell and picking the wrong one could completely ruin the mood. Instead, open a window ahead of their visit to let some fresh air flow through. And bake some cookies. No one has every complained about that.

Be ready for the unexpected.

Surprise: Illness and accidents aren’t limited to people who reside in the country. Visiting in-laws from out of country are as much at risk at falling ill or falling down as anyone else. Talk to them about their insurance decisions.

In fact, if you’ve got guests coming into town for a prolonged period of time, the Government of Canada reccomends that they purchase medical insurance. .

We Canadians are so used to not paying out of pocket for much of our healthcare that we may not realize that hospitals can charge thousands of dollars a day for care for visitors.


If you’re on edge and walking on eggshells it won’t be long until the rest of the family joins in. Frazzled nerves and stressed evenings aren’t the best way to spend the holidays. Instead, do what you can to prepare for the visit and then shrug away the rest. House guests are hard but they won’t be around forever. Make sure your find the joy in the visit and make the most of the season.

Disclaimer:  Heather Greenwood Davis is a brand ambassador for Allianz Global Assistance (Canada) and receives financial compensation for these posts. As always, all information shared is her own opinion.