A Guide to Hosting the Holidays

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Relax! With the holiday season around the corner, you don’t need to turn your home into the Ritz Carlton for you to be a hospitable host for visiting family. This time of year is more about connecting with loved ones than stressing out about keeping everyone fed and entertained. You can be a thoughtful host and give your visiting family or friends the chance to be involved with things alongside you. In my experience, good conversations always come when I’m helping another person make dinner or wash dishes. Those one-on-one interactions that bring you closer together is what it’s all about!  We have put together a myriad of ideas that can spruce up the time you spend with your family and friends.  

How to be a thoughtful host to family who are visiting from out of town

  • Have a card in the guest bedrooms with the Wi-Fi password and garage code written on it. Or include a spare house key.
  • Have extra wall chargers and USB cords available for your visitors.
  • Lay out fresh and folded towels on the bathroom counter and stock all bathrooms with soap, shampoo, conditioner, and toilet paper.
  • Share the house rules. That might mean visitors should be able to get their own breakfast in your home and clean up after themselves or perhaps quiet time is from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. Contention can creep in when visitors unknowingly break house rules, and no one wants that during the holiday season! Taking the time to establish expectations will make everyone happier in the end.
  • Plan a menu with the adults involved and make assignments. This is a good way to spread the workload and give everyone a chance to make something their family likes!

Minute to win it games for children AND adults!

The following ideas came from playtivities.com

Knock it out

For each person competing, you will need an orange or a tennis ball, a pair of nylons, and 3 disposable water bottles, filled. Each person puts their round object in the foot area of one of the nylons. Then put the elastic waist portion of the nylons around your head like a hat.  Swing your head side to side to try to get the ball to knock over each water bottle. Whoever is the first to knock all their water bottles over wins. 

Defying Gravity

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You will need balloons. Try to bounce 2-3 balloons in the air at the same time without letting them touch the ground. Adjust the number of balloons each person gets by skill and ability. Whoever lasts the longest wins. You could have different winners for different categories: The winner for the longest time with two balloons, three balloons, and the person who manages to keep 10 in the air the longest! Try doing the same game and seeing how long you can bounce one balloon on your head. It might be harder than you think!

Tear it up

You will need a roll of toilet paper, an empty disposable water bottle, rubber bands, two twisty-ties, four chairs, folded up bits of paper, and a stick thin enough for the roll of toilet paper to slide through. Thread the roll of toilet paper on the stick and rest the stick between two chairs. Pull some of the paper down so 2-3 squares are hanging. Take the lid off the disposable water bottle and put the last square of toilet paper between the lid and the bottle before screwing it on. This will suspend the bottle in the air. Then connect one or several rubber bands between two chairs, securing them to each chair with a twisty-tie. Load a folded piece of paper and fire away! All players take turns trying to tear the toilet paper and make the bottle drop to the floor.

Homemade Soap

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Chances are you’ve had an idea or two of what to get someone for Christmas already. I remember one year my grandmother, aunts, mom, and I all got together to make our own soaps just for the fun of it. Now that I think of it, homemade soap would be a fantastic gift idea for friends, family, or neighbors. We had different molds and fragrances and had a lot of fun getting creative with it. Not only can you make a gift for someone, but you can make a meaningful memory with your family when they visit for Thanksgiving. Here is a recipe for making soap provided by Nola Spicer:

Soap Base

Fragrance Oils

Cosmetic Grade Coloring

Almond oil/ aloe vera / oatmeal


Rubbing Alcohol

Soap Molds

Plastic Wrap


Gift Tags

Melt soap base in a double broiler. Add oils and coloring. You can add other ingredients such as oatmeal for a scrub, glitter for decoration, or soothing oils such as almond and aloe vera. Pour the mixture into soap molds and allow the bubbles to rise. Spray with rubbing alcohol to dissolve bubbles and allow the soap to harden. Wrap the bars of soap in plastic, tie them with colorful ribbon, and give them to neighbors, family, and friends. Small, colorful plastic toys may be placed in the mold as well for children’s soap.

Fun things to do in the area

The Huntsville outdoor Ice-Skating Rink: A portion of Huntsville Park is flooded to transform it into a skating rink where anyone can come to play hockey, figure skate, or simply try to stay vertical for free. It’s the perfect activity to get out and enjoy winter in the outdoors. Visitors can rent skates from across the street at local businesses, including the Huntsville BBQ. Every winter, dozens of volunteers work together to freeze the park, and if you come late enough, you can even help spray the ice! The current location is at 300 S 7400 E.

A winter hike up wheeler canyon is beautiful, especially when there is a fresh layer of snow.

Participate in the Santa Run on Nov. 30th at Ogden’s Historic 25th Street at 4:30 p.m. Everyone who registers gets a full-on Santa Outfit to race in. It’s quite the sight! Don’t miss the Holiday Electric Light Parade on Washington Blvd later in the evening as well.

Take the family Country Dancing at the Union Station. Lessons are offered from 8:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. and the dance floor is open until 11:30 p.m.

Learn all about turkeys at the Ogden Nature Center on Nov. 20th from 3:45 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.

Turkey Leftovers

Of course everyone loves the turkey sandwiches that come with leftover turkey from Thanksgiving. But what if you want to change things up this year? Or what if you have TOO much turkey to know what to do with? Here is a recipe for a Tex-mex Turkey Enchilada that is sure to make a dent in your leftovers and feed your family who might be visiting for the holidays.

3 C Chopped Turkey

1 ¾ C Salsa

8 oz Cream Cheese

1 ½ t Cumin

1/3 c Green OnionParagraph

½ t Oregano

16 Flour Tortillas

3 C Mexican Blend Cheese




Heat turkey, ¾ C Salsa, Cream Cheese, 1 C Cheese, spices, and onions. Place a spoonful in each tortilla and roll. Place in a 9 x 13 pan. Cover with remaining salsa and cheese. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Serve with lettuce, tomatoes, and olives. Serves 10.

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