(At the risk of alienating my readers, I need to start this post on a personal note to R, who not only hosted me for the first night of Yom Tov, but who, despite being the first IRL friend who knew about my blog, only just started to read it. R- you're an awesome hostess, no matter how many or how few of the following you provided. The lack of number 8 was made up for by the excellent food, the adorable baby, and the really amazing company. Oh, and I slept superbly, so that gives you points too...)
This list has been culled from the extensive experience I've had as a shuntee; someone with enough chashivus to get invited to a family simcha or the like, but not enough chashivus to get placed anywhere but a strange, albeit tolerant neighbor. Some things make the stay a little
10) A Private Bathroom: Its always a part of the plans for my dream house, but it's obviously not something I can expect in just any house; it needs to be built in. But there are few things I enjoy less than rummaging through my bag with my eyes half closed, trying to find a slinky skirt and a sweatshirt so I can go use the restroom...
9) A Shabbos Lamp: Again, this comes along with expenses, so I can't expect it every time I go away, but a shabbos lamp makes all the difference when I am cooped up in a tiny room for a while.
8) Clock: this isn't immediately obvious, but with my watch somewhere on the bottom of the yam hakineret, I was amazingly appreciative of the simple wall clock hanging in the room I stayed in for shavuos. I mean, it's not a big problem during the week, when I get the time off my phone, but shabbos is a killer. I wake up and see it's light out. Is it six? Seven? Ten? Maybe twelve? For all I know it could be four and I missed the seudah... There's just no way to know.
7) A Water Bottle: this is just a small token, but I was so impressed at the thoughtfullness of the hostess who put this out for me recently...
6) An Extra Pillow: No guest will ever ask for an extra pillow, but people are often very picky about their pillow habits. A pillow can easily be put on the side, but just one pillow for someone like me who generally uses three is a real good recipe for insomnia.
5) An Outlet (or three): Nothing bugs me more than a weekday stayover without a place to plug in all of my "stuff".
4) A Mirror: At the risk of sounding a bit MPish, I kinda like to take a glimpse at myself before I stumble out of my room in all of my non-morning-person glory before exiting and letting the world see first.
3) Closet Space: Ever stayed at some stranger's house for a simcha, opened the closet to hang your things, and felt like you were intruding? G-d I hate that. Gimme some space. And a hanger. I just want to hang my skirt!
2) Reading Material: I don't know if it was on purpose or just where he had space, but a lady I once stayed at kept all of her old Mishpachas and Binahs in a drawer in the guest room. It was great, I had plenty to keep me busy all night long.
1) A Friendly Invitation: Maybe it's just me, but If the host(ess) doesn't invite me to touch, I don't touch. If she doesn't offer a drink, I don't drink. It's pretty easy, yet really nice if you just tell your guest to make themself at home...
(please note- this post was not meant to make fun of, criticize, or mitigate the goodness of my past host(ess)s. I think it's very special that so many yidden open their homes to strangers. I just mean to present some ideas for when you host someone... And to remind myself for when I have a place to have guests.