Whether you’ve got two people or 20 showing up on your doorstep this Christmas, it pays to be prepared. If you’re hosting, all eyes will be on you to make the 25 December a magical one. But don’t let that stress you out – with our handy top tips on hosting at your home you can make the whole affair look effortless.
Make a list
The ten-year-olds aren’t the only ones who need to write a list this Christmas. If you’ve agreed to entertain the masses you’ll need to get organised with things you need to do or buy. Set up different lists for food shopping, guests attending and their gifts as well as one for the other stuff you’ll need, like crackers, extra glasses, mistletoe maybe?
Plan the schedule
We’re not saying you need to get all military-style on what is supposed to be a fun, festive and relaxed day. But it doesn’t hurt to think about some kind of plan for Christmas and Boxing Day. For example, what time you’re likely to wake up, when you want to open presents, when the turkey needs to go in the oven etc.
Can I bring anything?
Yes! When your guests ask if they can bring or do anything to help, take them up on the offer. Even if you can afford to fund the entire event yourself, it will still save you carrying a case of bubbly across town. Make a list of all the extra things you could do with and ask people to bring them.
Easy peasy Christmas Eve-y
You’ll be doing your fair share of hard work on Christmas Day. So don’t worry too much about a gourmet feast the night before. A takeaway or giant lasagne you can prepare in advance is perfectly acceptable.
Plates and glasses
Get these all ready in advance and put to one side. You can hire glasses from your local supermarket and if you plan the meals you’ll be serving, you can make sure you have the right tableware available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Having said that, there’s also no shame in buying plastic or paper versions for meals other than Christmas lunch. That way people can grab their own and there will be less washing up.
The drinks station
The last thing you should be doing with a bunch of people to entertain is getting everyone a drink when their Baileys runs out. Set up a bar area where you can put all the beverages, including those people bring as gifts, and let them all help themselves. You can even nominate an ice monitor.
Many Christmas Days have been ruined by hosts who try to do it all. Remember this is a sociable occasion – one that you should be able to enjoy too. People are often happy to help out with specific tasks that make them feel useful. Make a list of things that need to be done and delegate the job. It could be making up a bed, setting up a Playstation or choosing a playlist for the iPad.
Send an email
The most organised of hosts will set expectations for their guests. Send an email out beforehand reminding people what time to arrive and what kind of festivities they can expect. If you like to watch the Queen’s Speech at 3pm, say so! If you want people to be relaxed and treat your home as their own, tell them! Set the tone for the event and people will feel more merry.
Never underestimate the atmosphere that’s created in your house or apartment when everyone is content. Creating areas for different activities can be a god-send, especially when children are involved. Think of spaces you can use for TVs, Nintendos, nap time, quiet reading or drinking games.
The last thing you want on Boxing Day is a sore head while you’re preparing the leftovers. Drink plenty of water on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (with your bubbly of course) and you’ll be fresh as a daisy in time for the pre-lunch dog walk.
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