With the days disappearing before us, it won’t be long until party season and its accompanying hosting obligations are in full swing. With friends and family all in town at once the urge to host has inevitably got the better of you and before you know it you’ve volunteered to host a different set of friends and family members almost every weekend in the lead up to the new year. One look at your December diary right now and the social events pencilled in can be overwhelming.
So how do you ensure you’re the hostess with the mostest this year? It starts with good friends, continues with great food and reigns supreme with tasty wine and festive treats.
Friends and food are a great place to start but if you want your Christmas parties to be the best of the best, follow these tips to make life a little easier and parties all the more festive.
Set the mood while saving on decor
Little details go a long way when it comes to hosting. Plus they’re a really easy way to earn some extra hosting points. It doesn’t have to mean splurging on decor either – that’s the whole point of them being details. Try touches like a sprig of rosemary on top of folded napkins or using cinnamon sticks as a cocktail swizzle.
Save on flowers by buying one big bouquet and splitting it into lots of little floral arrangements, using copper mugs as your petite vases.
Candlelight is great for creating ambience at a party and sets a relaxed tone for the evening. Use mismatched tea lights spread across the table to match a chilled atmosphere with laidback but sophisticated decor.
Prep the bar
Too many drinks options can get chaotic. Keep things simple by preparing a punch bowl cocktail. At this time of year mulled wine goes down a treat and will be your most popular option. Not only will it save you from setting out multiple variations of liquors and mixers but it saves your guests from the stress of choosing which drink they’d like. Among mulled wine, make sure there are soft drinks available as well as plenty of water and ice for your guests.
Keep all of your entertaining essentials in one place such as a designated drawer in your kitchen or dining room stocked with a corkscrew, bottle opener, napkins and back up candles. Keep a small amount of napkins out near the drinks and appetisers for guests in case of unexpected spills.
Do all the cooking ahead of time
On the food front, get as much of the cooking done ahead of time as possible, including a dessert that’s easily shared out among guests. If you’re short on time or long on guests, there’s no shame in buying pre-made appetizers. Most store bought appetizers are delicious and adding a little garnish increases the fancy factor. Plus less time in the kitchen means more time spent with your guests.
If the thought of cooking for lots of people fills you with fear and the idea of prepping appetizers, dessert and mulled wine has stress levels boiling over, take a pot luck approach instead. Ask everyone to bring something they’d feel comfortable cooking and share out the responsibility on the food front. Make a list of what everyone is bringing ahead of time so that you can fill any gaps.
Last minute admin
As the day of the party arrives, wrap up last minute admin details like where you’ll store coats, making sure there are plenty of seating options and doing a last minute sweep of the house.
Ramp up the festivities with an appropriately Christmassy playlist plus plenty of party hats and accessories to get everyone in the festive spirit.
Most of all, relax, have fun and make time for what matters most at this time of year – spending time with friends and family.