Holiday Hospitality

Offering hospitality with an old fashioned flair envelops your guests in a charming spirit of warmth, generosity and good will. You may not have a houseful of servants to cater to your guests’ every whim, but you can anticipate their needs and help them feel welcomed and pampered. Here are a few tips I wrote for the article on Victorian Hospitality in the December issue of Victorian Homes Magazine.

1. A Gracious Welcome. On their arrival, treat your guests to tea or coffee in your living room. Set a tray in front of a blazing fire, use your best silver and pretty porcelain teacups, and arrange treats with greenery. After traveling, everyone loves to sit, sip a cup of tea and say hello.

2. Treat guests like Family. Give guests their own key to your home, attach to a holiday ribbon and tag. A shedule of your holiday events will allow them to plan their time, include a nap and private time, while still enjoying all the holiday traditions with your family and friends. Add a map of the local area, as well as a list of “must see” places, shops and restaurants.

3. Graceful Guest Room Upgrades. Anticipate your guest’s needs by putting yourself in their place. Think like a luxury B & B owner. Freshen the room with clean, crisp Antique sheets, fold an extra blanket on the end of the bed. Nestle a cozy reading chair next to the bed, add a fresh flowers, a stack of books, and a water carafe.

Hang a festive cone or stocking on the bedpost, fill fill greenery and a small ornament keepsake.


Place a welcome basket at the foot of the bed, filled with soap, shampoo, perhaps some slippers, a robe, extra towels, a holiday treat, and a seasonal candle & matches.

4. Extra Good Mornings. Early in the morning, bring a tray with individual pots of tea and coffee to your guest’s room on a tray. Add a little nosegay of roses.

5. A Place to Write. If you have the room, a little desk filled with stationary, pens and stamps is a very thoughtful touch. Put a photograph of your guests in a frame to display on the desk, and let them take this home with them when they leave as a memento.

6. Breakfast Bar. The days leading up to Christmas can be hectic. Let everyone serve themselves breakfast at their leasure {and without YOU feeling like a short order cook} by setting up a beautiful breakfast bar in your kitchen. Provide foods that are easy to serve at room temperature, so that everyone can help themselves over a period of time.

Arrange food on a buffet, or even the corner of your kitchen counter. Layer an antique lace tablecloth under the dishes, use your silver to serve, and add a few greens and berries for decorations. Stacks of plates, silverware, glasses and cups. they don’t have to match, making for a fun conversation starter!

7. Set a simple, but thoughtful table. For a meal you will all share, think outside the box to set a pretty table. Here, I used antique union cases with a personal message inside as a special surprise for each guest.

8. Enjoy yourself! Don’t let the perfectionist in you take over. Plan ahead, then enjoy being with your guests. Laugh, do fun things, take a nap, let them help you, and take it easy.

Happy Holidays!

If you want to romance your Home and Garden with antique and vintage treasures to make you smile each time you come home, visit our shop FrenchGardenHouse.

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10 Comments

  1. Elsie
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 4:57 am | Permalink

    Lovely ideas, every one of them. I especially love the keys and schedule idea, and the breakfast bar. So many great ides, now I want to be a guest somewhere!

  2. Lidy
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 4:59 am | Permalink

    Thanks Elsie! Merry Christmas, xoLidy

  3. Marc Luc
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    I love this. We live in an old Victorian, and your website and blog is filled with inspiration on holiday and every day decorations. Many of your French country pieces fill our kitchen, as the real working parts of the Victorian home down in the servants area (kitchen) were utilitarian pieces just like that. We’ve bought Victorian ornaments from FrenchGardenHouse for our tree, Victorian silver for our parlor, Victorian lace pillow shams for our guestroom from you. Almost every room in our home has a touch of FGH in it.

    The funny thing is that our neighbors, who have a very Frenchy shabby chic kind of home also bought many things from you! You cater to every style, almost…in a beautiful way. We want to thank you for sharing your finds with us. Your eye for picking out the high quality, unusual antiques is so appreciated here in WV. Merry Christmas, Marc Luc, Devon, and Rudy & Bailey

  4. Lidy
    Posted December 18, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Merry Christmas, Marc Luc! Thank you for such kind words. It delights me no end that all my “finds” as you call them are happy at home with all of you. Your home is so beautiful, and everything you have bought from us was meant for those stately historic rooms. I love it too, that you appreciate the coarser, more utilitarian pieces for your kitchen, all the bowls, jugs and baskets that are the simple useful pieces we both so love. I wish you the happiest of holidays. And would love for you to send me some photos of your home at Christmas time!

  5. Janet
    Posted December 18, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Such great ideas. Happy Holidays- thank you for the great blog and website. I hope that the new year is filled with great times, great friends and great “finds” for us! hugs and smiles, Janet Van Donkirk

  6. Lidy
    Posted December 18, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Janet, Happy Holidays to you, too! Thanks for all the visits, and for taking the time to comment, I so appreciate that.

  7. Karen
    Posted December 20, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    Merry Christmas, Lidy! Thank you so much for the care, and love with which you run FrenchGardenHouse. You have such a keen eye to choose the best of the best, are wonderfully detail oriented, each and every piece we have purchased from you has become a grand favorite in our home here in Texas.

    We thank you so much, and look forward to purchasing many pieces from you for our new great room for next year. The prices as well as quality of your items are unsurpassed. Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas! Paul & Karen de Nouveu

  8. Lidy
    Posted December 20, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Paul & Karen, it’s so nice to see you commenting here! Thank you so much, not only for the business we have done together, but also for your friendship. It’s clients like you who make this such a joy! Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, too. xo Lidy

  9. maria
    Posted December 28, 2012 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Awesome and lovely decoration. So romantic!!

  10. maria
    Posted December 31, 2012 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    I really love your frenchgardenhouse. Especially looking at your beautiful blog posts, and your recipes, I wish this was a place I could stay! Thanks for the great blog.

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