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Don't Get Booted From The House!

Venezuelan writer Alberto Barrera poses at his home in Caracas on Nov. 8, 2006. Barrera was awarded Spain's Herralde book prize for his work "La Enfermedad" ("The Sickness") in a unanimous jury decision, Anagrama publishing house said. Barrera's work was chosen from 172 entries to the 24th annual edition of the prize, which carries a cash award of $18,000.
AP Photo/Gregorio Marrero
Entertaining at home for an extended period of time can be taxing on both the host and houseguest.

In order to get through a weekend or extended visit, both sides should follow some very basic rules to make things run smoothly. After all, the visit of a good friend or relative should be an enjoyable experience for everybody.

Mary Mitchell, author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Etiquette, spoke about some of the issues during a visit to The Early Show Tuesday.


BEING A GREAT HOUSEGUEST
  • Communicate openly with your host and observe the "house rules."
  • Don't assume that pets, children and lovers are invited.
  • If you are traveling with a lover, ask about the rules of the house when it comes to sleeping arrangments.
  • If it's a no-smoking house, smoke outside.
  • Never come empty handed.
  • Be financially responsible for yourself and whoever you bring with you.
  • Always clean up after yourself and assist the host with daily activities.
  • Leave your electronic gadgets (laptop and beeper) at home.
  • Do not overstay your welcome. Mitchell advises hosts: "If a guest is staying too long, you just have to kick them out."
  • Always send a thank-you note and a gift.
BEING A GREAT HOST
  • Invite your guest properly, with a written invitation and enough advance notice.
  • Communicate clearly with your guests.
  • Tell them when they should arrive and how long they should stay.
  • Ask them if they have any specific needs for the visit.
  • Tell guests about planned events or activities so they can come prepared.
  • Provide comfortable accommodations.
  • A guest should have an alarm clock, reading lamp, extra pillows and blankets, closet space, hangers and drawer space.
  • The guest bathroom should have clean towels, wash cloths, toothpaste and toothbrush, shampoo and conditioner, and an unused bar of soap.
  • Be ready to assume most of the financial responsibility of the visit.
  • Plan for some down time.

Gift ideas suggestions include note cards and envelopes, or even gift certificates, available online through GiftCertificates.com. Spa treatments also can make great gifts. SpaWish.com offers local day spa and resort options nationwide. Wins can be procured through www.wine.com or GiftCertificates.com. Or try a picnic basket set.