If your last name’s Hilton or Marriott, you undoubtedly have enough spare rooms to accommodate all of your out-of-town holiday guests. But for the rest of us, figuring out where friends and family should crash can be more complicated. One dilemma many parents face is whether to displace kids from their rooms in order to make space for familial lodgers.
In National Lampoon’s “Christmas Vacation,” a young Juliette Lewis memorably whined to her mom about having to share a bed with her brother in order to make room for all of the grandparents, asking, “Would it be indecent to ask the grandparents to stay at a hotel?”
Many parents have made that very same suggestion in response to a recent article at TheStir.com. In the article, Kristen Chase says that while she’s happy to welcome friends and family the holidays, once the guest rooms are taken, it’s couches and air mattresses – not her kids’ rooms – for everyone else.
“I'm more than happy to get them a blow-up mattress, or an extra blanket or two for the couch, but when it comes to sleep, if my kids don't get it, then I don't get it, and this makes me very unhappy,” wrote Chase.
For many families, it’s just a given that kids will decamp to another room for a few days while guests are visiting. Many kids undoubtedly enjoy the break from routine and embrace the chance to camp at home. Plus, old-school parents may say, it builds character.
But, for others, changing the bedtime routine is more challenging. Perhaps it’s a young child who just started sleeping through the night. A parent would understandably be reluctant to risk upsetting that newfound sleep pattern. Perhaps, like Audrey Griswold, teens are surly about co-habitating with a sibling. For a variety of reasons, many parents are reluctant to hand kids sleeping bags and tell them to hit the floor.
A commenter who goes by parentalrights1 was one of those who supported the local hotel industry, posting, “If I don't have room people can stay in hotels. My kids don't have to be made to give up THEIR room in THEIR home for someone else and be treated like their age makes them expendable. If a guest is staying in my home for free they don't get to put us out. I do make exceptions for a disabled relative but he gets MY bed because I'm not gonna make my kids be uncomfortable.”
Still, even those who are reluctant to bump kids from their rooms will make exceptions for certain relatives, like MominPa74, who wrote: “NO they are NOT displacing my kids… I think unless it's Grandma with the bad back (or Grandpa) and they can't afford a hotel, then I would consider one of my kid’s beds. And the kid would sleep on the air mattress (youngest is 10 and would get a kick out of it). But if I had small kids I think I would pay for a hotel for Grandma over moving kids.”
Other parents say stop coddling the kids and make hospitality a family value. As commenter Caera states, “If my family members are going to go through the trouble of holiday travel down the eastern seaboard to spend the holidays with us, my own kids can surrender their room and sleep on couches, on the floor or on blow-up mattresses so that adults – who are older and may have aches that youngsters don't have – can be comfortable. That's a pretty small trade-off, especially since my visitors have spared me the trouble and expense of traveling to them.”
Then again, maybe offering your guests an air mattress rather than your kid’s bed is the most considerate thing after all. As BetweenCourses noted, “Oh, it's not being rude to have guests take the air mattress or couch. Jeez. Our kid beds are probably crappier than the couch.... Seriously, queen size air mattress or lumpy, peed-on due to kids with wet-the-bed issues twin bed? Or would you rather sleep in the toddler bed?”
Are you expecting any out of town guests this holiday season? If so, where will they be sleeping?
Dana Macario is a Seattle-area mom who’s having a full house this weekend. Kids in sleeping bags, adults in beds.