Sharing your home can be a tricky thing. When you spend as much time as I do at home...primping and preening it...you like to have things a certain way...now, mix in other people and, as Peti likes to say all their 'stuff', and it tips your world on end a bit.
Being tipped on end for a short while isn't all bad. It takes the stuffing out of your seriousness and rains a dose of reality down on your head.
My favourite thing to do when preparing for house guests, is to stock their bathroom with all kinds of creams, bath lotions and things that just smell nice. It's an easy, inexpensive indulgence that you can treat your friends to, and that hopefully goes a small way to making them feel special during their stay. And if you really, really like them, finding a couple of luxurious bathrobes (hopefully on sale) for them to relax in, is a delicious treat.
On the other side of the coin, I've just returned from four days in Toronto, being a house guest. Our host was away, so while we didn't have the pleasure of seeing him, he did permit us to use his home. I believe my responsibility, like that of the boy scouts, is to leave the place better than it was when I arrived. So taking a few moments to clean the bathroom, empty the trash and remove the sheets and towels to the laundry room (and re-make the bed if you know where the clean linens are) is my thank you to my host. A thank you note and/or gift is nice too...but so much better to give of yourself than a thing, I think.
This way, some of the 'work' of entertaining is eased, so the pleasure can shine through and then host is eager to entertain again and guest enjoys the flattery of being invited back. A win-win cycle of energy.
I'm proud and happy to say that all my family and friends behave this way, so the circle turns and we all can enjoy staying and being with friends while traveling.