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It's the holidays, which mean families are gathering in one another's homes. If you would like to give your guests a little special treatment, take these simple steps to ramp up your hosting cred. It doesn't take much to transform an unpersonal guest room into a luxurious, eco-friendly retreat.
1. Lux Linens: Nothing makes us feel more comfy and pampered than sleeping and bathing in luxury. Before guests arrive, wash a set of high-threadcount organic sheets and put them on the bed. I like to wash my nicest set of sheets for guests and use an older pair of sheets on my own bed to make guests feel a little pampered. If you need to purchase a new set of sheets, opt for organic cotton such as those from Earthsake (pictured), Shepherd's Dream or CozyPure. Also make sure your guests have plenty of pillows and blankets—it's always better to have extra than to wake up chilly in the middle of the night in an unfamiliar environment. And if you have a spare set of slip-on house slippers, set them next to the bed for a cozier wake-up. Finally, make sure your guests have their own bath towels so they don't feel they have to ask permission to jump in the shower.
2. Air Aware: Little-used guest rooms can sometimes get stuffy. If you have a portable air filter, run it in the guest room for a few hours or a day before guests arrive. Otherwise, if the weather isn't too cold, turn on a fan and open windows a crack to air out the room a few hours before guests' arrival. If you live in a dry climate and have a portable humidifier, put it in the guest room to help guests breathe easier. If it's cold, also give them access to a space heater if you have one. Finally, liven up guest quarters while guests are staying by moving a couple of houseplants into the space.
3. Treats for Sweets: Give guests a little extra love to let them know you are happy to have them in your home. A little container of aromatic bath and shower salts, a box of fair trade chocolates or a travel-size bottle of your favorite organic lotion will make your guests know they are special to you. (Divine Chocolates Dark Chocolate Covered Salted Fudge pictured; find a listing of fair trade chocolate brands here.)