Even if you love to host, the idea of hosting over the Christmas period can be a daunting one.
From making sure everywhere is decorated beautifully, to ensuring everyone has plenty to eat – it’s fair to say it’s not all about the food.
But we wanted to share with you some tips and tricks to take your festive hosting to the next level, so that you can make memories with the people you care about.
Preparation is KEY
It’s not just planning what you’re going to serve that needs a bit of forward thinking, you also need to make sure you’ve got enough food and enough time to make everything you want to, whilst still managing to socialise with your guests!
Make a timeline of everything you want to cook and now how long everything takes to both prepare and serve. Try to plan in time where you’re not actively cooking so that you can be out of the kitchen and making sure your guests are all ok.
It’s a good idea to have spares if you’re cooking something a little tricky, in case something goes wrong or even in case you get an unexpected guest!
And don’t forget your serve wear. Make sure you know what plates, boards or dishes you want to serve your food on, especially with items like canapes. Not everything has to match – often that’s part of the charm!
Tablescaping & Decorations
The art of laying a beautiful table has been growing steadily in popularity over the last few years. It’s something you can prepare in advance of your guests arriving and we love to use lots of natural greenery and flowers for a rustic feel.
You can be as elaborate or as simple as you like, but a beautifully laid table will never be something to regret spending time on and it will really elevate those ‘round the table’ photos that you will look back on for years to come.
Canapés & Nibbles
One of the key things for ensuring you have happy guests, it to make sure no one goes hungry. If you’re going to be spending a lot of time in the kitchen, make sure there are plenty of nibbles or canapés around for your guests to graze on before dinner is served.
Often, they can be made in plenty of time, and you can even enlist the help of your guests in passing them out. At Christmas time, no one begrudges pitching in, so make the most of willing helpers!
Keep glasses topped up
Along the same lines as making sure no one goes hungry, make sure glasses get topped up regularly too! Often, people will bring a bottle as they arrive, but it’s a good idea to make sure you’ve got plenty to go around – to avoid last minute dashes to the corner shop!
Have a variety of drinks available and be sure to remember that not everyone will be drinking alcohol, so it’s nice to have something a little different for the designated drivers too besides water.
Christmas cocktails and canapés often go hand in hand so it’s a great time to try out your bartending skill and create something interesting that can be served whilst you’re busy in the kitchen.
Don’t forget to keep yourself topped up too, just because you’re hosting the dinner party, don’t forget to actually partake in it!
Delegate, delegate, delegate!
It’s easy to take on all the responsibility for the entire evening by yourself but remember that often, people actually want to help.
In fact, some of the best Christmas memories are when everyone pitches in. Whether that’s bringing the canapés or dessert, taking charge of the ‘bar’ and topping everyone’s drinks up or making sure Granny is looked after and Grandad has access to a blanket for when he inevitably falls asleep – Christmas day is always a team effort.
Finally, enjoy it
Your guests are there to spend time with you, the host, not just to eat your food, drink your wine and leave. So, make sure you allow yourself a little bit of time when your guests arrive to give everyone a proper welcome and pour yourself a drink ahead of going back in the kitchen.
We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again, preparation is everything. There are normally a number of elements to pull together for the main event so where you can prepare ahead of time – do so. Hostess trolleys might be very 80’s but they are a God send – and if you can’t get your hands on one of those make sure you’ve got an oven draw warming so that everything is served hot.
Take plenty of photos and be sure to remember what worked (and what didn’t!) for next time. If you’re anything like us the buzz you get from hosting loved ones is addictive and we just know you’ll want to do it again.