It’s the most wonderful time of the year but I think we can all agree that it is also the most stressful time of year, especially if you’re throwing or hosting a Christmas dinner party. This year marks my 3rd year hosting Christmas dinner and I’ve picked ups few useful tips along the way. So if it’s your first time or bajillionth time prepping and hosting Christmas I hope you find these tips helpful.
It’s all in the planning
My first tip today is to plan way ahead of time. Call me crazy but I start thinking about Christmas in September and start planning in November. This is the time I jot down any ideas I have for the theme, games, Christmas playlist and of course the menu. Most importantly I send out the Invitations.
The little details
We all have our inner Monica Gellar within us and this is where it comes in handy. Think about the little details that may sometimes get overlooked. Little thoughtful touches are always greatly appreciated. Name place cards are one of my favourite ways to make my guests feel special. This year I’ll be writing names on a silver snowflake place card and slotting them into wine glasses.
Find out if there are any special dietary requirements for your guests before hand. You don’t have to jump through hoops to make everyone happy but the gesture and catering to their needs will be well received and appreciated.
Learn this triple fold napkin trick; it’ll make all the difference at the dinner table.
Create the ambience
As the host you generally give off the vibe at the party, so create a fun and relaxing environment and be on your best behaviour. Here are a few tips on creating a nice ambience.
- It’s nice to get dressed up for special occasions but I always invite people to bring PJ’s, a onesie or a comfy Christmas jumper to change into so they’re more comfortable. Waistbands are restricting; let’s not allow them to ruin the fun.
- Create the perfect Christmas playlist on Spotify. You can even make the playlist public allowing your company to add their favourite Christmas songs to the playlist before the day. It’s a nice way to get everyone involved. My personal tips on a creating a mix everyone. will love is to include both modern and classic Christmas tracks. When things wind down something a little more mellow along the lines of Michael Bublé would be perfect. It’s always fun to throw in something a little unexpected such as RUN DMC’S Christmas Hollis. (You’re welcome!)
- Aside from picking a theme that will set the tone, it’s also nice to light a few candles around the house and light the fireplace. Or if like me you don’t have the luxury of a fireplace, you can play this Fireplace video. You can also find a music free version and I believe Netflix have a fireplace video too.
- A blanket box next to the sofa is perfect for snuggling up at the end of the night when things settle down.
Setting the table
This is my favourite part. A table setting is so fun to create. I start with a centre piece and colour palettes then work around that. This year I was planning on having a Heritage theme (lots of tartan and wooden ornaments) but then I decided to go with a Winter Wonderland theme. It’s fresh and not overly traditional. Here is a sneak peek into how I’ll be setting the dinner table this Christmas. The winter woodland table runner is by Sophie Allport. Handy Shortcuts for cooking
Order your groceries online. Avoid the last minute shoppers and shop from the comfort of your own home. This way you can really plan out your shopping and get a visual. If God forbid they forget an item you can just pop out to the shops and pick it up closer to the date along with your fresh produce. (Depending on when you make your order, it might be best to refrain from adding any fresh veggies, herbs or fruit).
Wake up early on the day. Last minute running around is never fun. If you get the hard work done early you can have fun later.
Prep, time + never underestimate a good pair of kitchen scissors.
Prepping will save you a butt load of time on the day so if you think that you can risk cooking things the day before or chopping up vegetables then go for it. I personally like to bake my bread the morning of and my sweet mashed potatoes the day before. That way I can easily reheat them when it’s show time. Put love and care into everything you do and you’ll be fine. All your efforts will be rewarded when everyone comes together to eat.
Unless you’re a professional chef or have crazy knife skills…Never underestimate a good pair of kitchen scissors (or a garlic crusher and mandoline for that matter). If you take anything away from this post let it be this. Chopping things with a knife especially when catering for many people is time-consuming and quite frankly “ain’t nobody got time for that”. A good pair of scissors can give you perfect strips of basil or perfectly “sliced” spring onions in half the time. Trust me, it works on everything. Want to crumble bacon? Bring out the scissors. Looking to shape some puff pastry? bring out the scissors. No one will care if the veggies are not perfectly Julienne.
Upon arrival + Hors D’oeuvres
Hungry + Angry = Hangry
This is a real thing and it’s never pretty. That is why upon arrival I like to take jackets at the door and show my guests to the self-help appetizer bar. (It’s really just a table but bar sounds cooler). This is a great idea for more reasons than one. It shows you have thought about your guests ahead of their arrival and it gives them time to talk amongst themselves as you brick it back to the kitchen and prep the rest of dinner. Drinks and simple finger food will be more than enough. This can be really easy or hard depending on what you put into it.
Mince pies & pre-cooked frozen party food
Moderately hard version
A cheese or antipasto board + bruschetta. Add grapes, flat bread and voilà
Bust out your favourite Pinterest appetiser recipes and get to work. They look impressive and it feels good to know you made it all. Vol-Au-vents look impressive but are easy to make. Canapés work well too just don’t forget to label everything!
When it comes to the drinks it’s nice to have a few options. Wine and a signature cocktail is nice for the main event but keep the fridge stocked with some water, juice and beer just in case. Epicurious have you hooked up with some of the best cocktails this season. You can also make warm apple cider towards the end of the evening for a warm treat.
Have fun, relax & Enjoy. So much hard work goes into prepping for a dinner party that we sometimes forget to soak in the festivities and have fun. Enjoy the moment, make lasting memories and don’t let it slip away.
Will you be hosting any dinner parties this season?
#HelloHenrietta25 | Day 5