With the holidays in full swing, odds are that loved ones from near and far will be pouring into your home over the next several weeks. Luckily, long-time home guru Mary Ella Gabler has curated a hospitality guide for smooth sailing throughout the entertaining season. Her recipe for a cozy, homemade getaway is all in the details, whether that’s fresh flowers with a hand-written note or a fully stocked bathroom.
A veteran of the home décor genre, Gabler is the founder of the luxury bedding and bath company Peacock Alley. Abiding by a philosophy that a well-lived life starts in the bedroom and bathroom, Gabler shares her secrets to create an oasis for every house guest, from your far-away friends to difficult-to-handle relatives.
1. It all starts with the bed
"Before my guests arrive, I have the sheets professionally laundered and pressed. This is the ultimate luxury and trust me… try it for yourself and you will know why! For the lavish gift, go a step further and personalize your guests' pillowcases. This is something extra special for your guests to take as a keepsake. Provide a playful saying or their family monogram. It is the thought that counts and this is something your guests will always remember."
Shop the look: Soprano Sateen Pillow Cases, $115; peacockalley.com.
2. Layer, Layer, Layer
"The holidays are the ideal time to provide layers of comfort and warmth for your guests. Not knowing how your guests will sleep or how the weather will turn, I like to leave an extra throw blanket or a duvet folded at the foot of the bed. Guests can simply add or remove these layers of warmth depending on their sleeping preferences. After all, there’s nothing more luxurious than a good night’s sleep!"
3. Create a thoughtful nightside table
"Provide your guests a space where they can connect, recharge and refresh. Fill a table with a pretty carafe of water, fresh flowers (my personal favorites are lilacs), and a hand-written note welcoming your guests with the wifi password and an extra phone charger. An alternative are these elegant wifi note cards I was treated to on a recent trip. Although the holidays are a time meant to be shared with family and friends, this is a thoughtful way to provide your guests a quiet place to connect in their own personal space."
Shop the look: Wifi Password Card, $8; bellinvito.com.
4. Make the bathroom truly indulgent
"The guest bathroom is an extension of the bedroom and a chance to really spoil your guests. Make sure to provide a stack of fresh, plush towels, a comfortable robe, and some of your favorite beauty products to create a spa-like experience. The little things like an extra toothbrush, toothpaste, and cotton balls make a welcome difference."
5. Signature scent
"I prefer a fresh clean scent around the house. Leave a candle in the bathroom. If you have a bathtub, continue to build a spa-like experience for your guests. I love a perfectly built bathtub basket. If your guests are new to town, provide a current local magazine with a list of upcoming events or your go-to city guide filled with the city favorites. Bath tub reading is indulgent!"
6. Sweet Dreams
"Make sure your guests sleep soundly. It is always a nice touch to provide earplugs and eye masks. No one wants to be woken up on his or her vacation."
7. Closet Space
"I always appreciate a little extra room and freshly pressed clothes and after a long day traveling, nothing sounds better. Keep an extra iron or steamer in the closet (along with extra hangers). For an extra touch, keep a robe and fresh slippers in the closet."
Shop the look: Conair Extreme Steam Fabric Steamer with Dual Heat, $35; target.com.
8. It’s a Framer
"Depending on the guest, I might also include a framed photo of the guest and myself to add a personal touch. Maybe a snapshot taken a few years ago, reliving fond memories and favorite traditions."
9. Fancy a Cocktail?
"For an extra personal touch, I always like to ask in advance what my guest’s favorite cocktail is. Who doesn’t want to be welcomed with a holiday toast awaiting them? Our go-to holiday cocktail is Uncle Joe’s Old Fashioned. It’s a family tradition!"