Oh the weather outside is frightful,
But the fire is so delightful,
Your party’s the place to go,
Let it snow, let it snow, let is snow.
Christmas season, is here, which means it’s time to celebrate and to party! We know you just can’t resist a seasonal get-together! However, you might not be confident at hosting parties and would rather keep the stress involved to the minimum. Don’t worry, there are a few secrets we’ll share with you on how to get that perfect balance between entertainment and hospitality which you can enjoy with your guests. Whether you are looking for tips to host a Christmas cocktail party or a fabulous feast, this guide will make sure you’ll have every detail under control.
There’s no need for cards or overly traditional invitation formalities. Just send a WhatsApp or an email invitation. It’s the fastest and simplest method. If you are looking for something more original use a program such as Canva to create your unique invitation. Here is an example:
Think ahead! Don’t make too many plans before you actually come up with a budget. It will determine the size of the party, what you will serve to drink and eat as well as the decorations and entertainment.
Cook your ultimate favourite dishes and those you feel confident in or practice before-hand. It’s not a good idea to try out new recipes on the day of the event especially if you don’t have a plan B. Why not also make larger batches, anything left over you can freeze and use as meals for another between Christmas and New Year to save those extra pennies!
You don’t feel like cooking? Our hack is to get some goodies from your local deli and serve it with home-made salad, this way no one will suspect your little trick. If you’re hosting a cocktail party rather than a dinner, place some snacks like olives, cheese cubes, grapes, hummus and carrot sticks etc. on the table. Another great trick to avoid too much cooking is to share hosting duties. You can ask your guests to each bring a dish.
If you want more time to prepare your delicious dishes serve an aperitif which will give you the breathing space you need. It will also help your guests relax and liven up the mood before the highlight of the evening.
Think about how you’ll serve the food. Our personal favourite is laying the different dishes in the middle, so that everyone can share and have as much as they want. It definitely, gets people closer together, but could be problematic if the food runs out before everyone gets their fair share.
For that extra effort, offer some alcoholic and virgin cocktails. Some of your guests might be driving or just prefer not to drink and they will definitely appreciate this gesture. Our favourite is the London Calling, perfect for this season. Here are the ingredients:
To save money look for the appropriate discounts and deals. You can get plenty of ingredients and even a couple of bottles of Prosecco and Cava for a very good prize. Another way to save money is to buy in bulk, especially if you’ll be cooking for a lot of people. Finally, try to buy some ingredients from the reduced section. Depending on the shop the times when these sections are filled can vary, but generally speaking around 7 pm is your best option.
The perfect Turkey
Now, if you really want to impress and uphold the Christmas tradition, there has to be a Turkey on your table! This could feel like a challenge especially when you have a massive naked bird staring right at you and you’ve never cooked one before.
We’ll provide you with a checklist which you can print out as well as our favourite recipe.
Make sure the tin you choose, is big enough for the bird and deep enough to catch all the yummy juices and fat. Remember to give your turkey some resting time, before serving.
Now onto the recipe…
Now just follow our checklist and season the turkey two days ahead.
Mash the garlic, thyme, lemon zest and salt. Place your fingers under the skin of the bird, from the neck, until you can push your whole hand down the length of the breast – be careful not to rip the skin. Spread the butter under the skin, reserving 1 tbsp butter for the shallots. Lay the pancetta (or bacon) on your work surface in two rectangles of six overlapping slices. Carefully push each rectangle under the skin to cover and protect each breast.
Pre-heat the oven to 180C and cook depending on the size of the turkey.
Have a holistic approach when it comes to choosing the decorations. Sometimes less is more! Focus on a festive cloth, napkins and obviously, candles are a must. If you are feeling fancy you could think about placing some vases, flowers or foliage. Feel free to experiment with colours, if you feel it will suit the personality of the party more, or your interior. Then just place the essentials on the table like, plates, cutlery, glasses and a jug of water and you’re good to go.
We suggest you let your guests choose where they would like to sit, especially when it’s an informal, small party. This way you won’t feel responsible if someone won’t like their immediate neighbor.
Depending on the atmosphere you want to create you will have to design your playlist accordingly. Think about the volume, your guests tastes and the rhythm. There’s not point of playing loud and upbeat tunes if you want people to stay seated and relaxed. Feel free to adapt the playlist if the mood changes. This is why downloading spotify or creating multiple playlists on YouTube is a good idea.
Try not to be over-protective of the music and let your guests tryout their music selections.
You want to make your party more adventurous? How about karaoke? This can be a very fun activity for everyone who enjoys music, and don’t worry, you don’t have to be a professional singer to be able to chant to some tunes.
If you combine the music and the lighting you can truly achieve the perfect atmosphere. However, you don’t have to have a fancy fireplace or a chandelier to create a magic aura at your party. So, don’t panic it doesn’t have to be a nightmare before Christmas!
Dim your lamps, switch on your fairy lights, light the candles and you’re good to go.
Dress to impress
Match your outfit with the atmosphere of the party! If you are hosting a cozy little get together don’t pull out your tux. If your party is an upscale affair, we advise you mention the evening dress code on the invitation. No one likes to feel out of place because of what they are wearing, so make sure your guests know what to expect.
If you want to provide more than just good food, drinks and the right company, invest in some board games! Alternatively you could organize secret Santa before-hand and use this get together as an opportunity to exchange gifts.
If your budget allows it, you could provide a photo-booth or a DJ. If you print the photos on sight your guests will also have something to remember the party by.
If you are looking for cheaper entertainment, but just as fun, you could play charades, carol pictionary or pin the nose on Rudolph.
Don’t forget to reward the winners!
This final touch will put you in the pro-category when it comes to party hosting! To make sure your magnificent evening is long remembered leave your guests with a gift. It doesn’t have to be expensive or large, if you feel up for the task you could even hand make it. A little thank you gift bag would be the best option especially if your guests aren’t coming empty handed.
It’s not an easy task to host such a special celebration as Christmas, but you can definitely do it. With our tips and tricks you can be certain not to forget any important steps and have everything planned to the smallest detail. Try not to worry too much, after all it’s a party, so go and have some fun!