Last-minute entertaining tricks for unexpected guests

(BPT) - The holiday season is a time for joy, giving and, at times, unexpected guests. For even the most unanticipated of visitors, it is wise to always be ready to share the season’s cheer with a nice hot cup of coffee, freshly-baked cookies and a welcoming home.

This year, follow these simple tips for making last-minute holiday entertaining quick, easy and stress-free:

Serve freshly-baked cookies: Keep a variety of frozen cookie dough on hand. When guests arrive, simply pull out and bake as many cookies as you need.

Light seasonal candles: Candles scented with seasonal fragrances such as gingerbread or winter greenery are an inexpensive way to make your home smell good and feel warm and inviting even without advance notice.

Stock a variety of beverages: A single-serve brewing system is one of the most helpful items to purchase for entertaining. When choosing a model, make sure to take into account convenience, compatibility and, most importantly, taste. Consider purchasing a single-serve brewing system, such as the Opus from iCoffee, available at Bed, Bath & Beyond. You don’t have to worry what brand or flavor of single serve cup you choose because the iCoffee can accept every k-style cup on the market. “I’ve tried all types of single serve coffee makers,” said Dan Kamys, Senior Editor at June Media, Inc. “If you’re looking for a darned good cup of coffee, this is the one I’d pick.”

Take 5 minutes to de-clutter: Cleaning the house for company can be an exhausting undertaking. Instead of cleaning the house from top-to-bottom before guests arrive, spend just 5 minutes each day picking up common areas so that your home is clean and organized whenever guests arrive.

Say “thank you”: At the beginning of the season, buy a selection of seasonal holiday note cards. After guests visit, mail them a short note thanking them for their friendship and for stopping by. The personal gesture will speak volumes to them.

From a hot beverage to a personalized note, hosting unexpected guests this holiday season can be fun, easy and relaxed with just a bit of preparation.