The only time of the year when our 3-bedroom house feels a little tight is at Christmas time when my mother in law & sister in law are here and all 3 rooms are occupied.
I guess it just feels like a FULL HOUSE because we’re not used to being 4 persons in the house where it’s normally just the two of us. But it’s nice because it’s Christmas and it’s family…although I honestly wouldn’t want them to stay forever. And I know they feel the same way too. People need their own space, comfort zones and privacy…eventually.
I once had a professor at University who said that he had a strict 3-day rule for having family or friends stay at his house. According to him, 3 days is the maximum amount of time you can have people staying at your house where everyone feels comfortable.
The first day, it’s nice and having “new” people come in feels like a breath of fresh air. You have lots of things to talk about and to catch up on.
The second day is still okay and you still have enough to talk about…but in case things start to run dry or feel slightly awkward and uncomfortable, you don’t have to worry because tomorrow they’ll leave again.
If you are having a great time together, you can say your good-byes with sincerity and honestly say that it was a pleasure, that you’ll miss them, that you’ll have to do it again soon and so on. And if you had a horrible time together, you can say your good-byes with a sigh of relief.
In my opinion, the best kind of visits happen when everyone does whatever they want and just feels at home. That’s pretty much what we do here over Christmas.
Mi casa es su casa – as they say.
Whenever I go to Denmark in the summer to visit my dad for 3-4 weeks and stay at his house, we have a great “rule”, which I’m finding to be more and more useful as time goes by. We each do whatever we want, I come and go as I please, he lets me use his car whenever I want (I don’t even have to ask, I’ll just let him know) and I fill it up with gas. I buy my own groceries and we each cook our own meals that we eat together.
I especially like the part about cooking our own food, because then we both get to eat what we like and nobody has to worry about cooking for the other person.
Whenever I’m there, I’ll clean up every night after dinner and load/unload the dishwasher. I’ll help him out around the house and clean here and there. I think it’s the least I can do and I also appreciate that people who come to stay at my house do the same – so I don’t have to wait on them.
It’s just common courtesy and a way of showing respect for other’s hospitality, even if they’re your family.