So, how to play host to guests this Christmas without losing your privacy or tripping over their stuffed suitcases…

If you have a guest room, lucky you. Having a space that guests can make their own, out from under your feet, allows for a much easier, and more pleasurable, visit.

Pop in a day early

If you know in advance that you having people coming to stay, set aside twenty minutes the day before.

If your spare room also passes as an office/laundry drying room/dumping ground, you’ll need this time to clear your bits and pieces off the bed and floor and put them away.

It’s also a good opportunity to air the room and make sure the radiators are turned on if they’re not already.

Make a place for their case

We’re not suggesting your guests will fully unpack if they’re only coming for a night or two, but why not make like a hotel and invest in a folding suitcase rack so they can at least have their case open without it cluttering the floor.

Clear spare hanging space

If you’re anything like us, your spare room wardrobes will be full of those clothes you hardly ever wear but can’t bear to get rid of!

But your visitors will feel so much more at home if they’ve got some hanging space of their own, especially if they’ve brought glam Christmas outfits, so consider making a little room for at least a few hangers and a few pairs of shoes.

Tell them the time

It’s easy to forget to provide practical devices in a guest room, especially when everyone seems to take their mobile phones and iPads everywhere these days, but it’s still nice to pop a traditional clock in the room.

It will make your guests feel more comfortable that they’re not sleeping in too late, or making noise too early!

Gift them the essentials

Remember those hotel miniatures that you always chuck in the bottom of your case but never use? This is where you can put them to good use, by arranging a little basket of toiletries for your visitors to find on their bed.

[Read more: 16 bizarre Christmas decorations to give you some festive inspiration]

Don’t hide the towels

Unless your guests are making a stand against Christmas hygiene, they’re going to need towels.

Don’t make it a challenge akin to the Crystal Maze for them to find them – just pop them on the bed. If there aren’t enough to go around, just explain that they’ll have to use opposite ends and think clean thoughts!

 

If they’ll be bunking in communal areas it’s up to you whether you decamp to the sofa or leave that treat to your unsuspecting guests – it will often come down to who’s likely to go to bed last or be up earliest in the morning i.e. early birds should take the lounge so they can potter in their own space for a bit.

Assess the sofa bed situation

Do you have one? How long was it since you used it? Check it a few days in advance and make sure the springs haven’t croaked, that it’s fitted with a clean sheet (saves faffing in front of your guests) and to check how much space there is when it’s folded out.

Sofa beds aren’t the be-all-and-end-all of hosting. If you’ve got a rough idea of how much room you’re playing with, you could invest in an Aerobed which inflate automatically. Some even have a headrest so your visitors won’t feel hard done by/as if they’re camping.

Find a spare surface

It will no doubt be tough, especially with all the Santa memorabilia inevitably strewn around your place, but clearing at least one communal surface for your guests can make a big difference. This can actually prove a good reason to have a bit of a spring clean before the new year arrives.

Let there be light

If you normally rely on a main ceiling light, which won’t be much good for bedtime reading, bring out a smaller lamp or desk light that can be turned off from the bed. It will make a world of difference for your guests to have a bit of clarity for the midnight journey to an unfamiliar bathroom too!