Can you believe that it’ll be Christmas Eve this time next week!? Crazy! How many Christmas Parties have you been to so far? If you haven’t, then I’ll bet you’ve got one coming up this week. Or are you hosting one yourself? If so, then this post’s for you. Hosting at Christmas is one of my favourite things to do (I love planning and organising around Christmas more than any other time of year), but it can also be really stressful (in fact, I wrote a whole post about it here). So here’s my ten step guide to hosting a banging Christmas Party. Cheers! 🙂
Christmas is the busiest time of year for get-togethers and partying HARD. Office parties, family dinners, drinks “and nibbles” with the neighbours, Black Friday Blowouts… So get that guest list written and those invites sent out as soon as you can to make sure that everyone on your guest list is wide open and able to come along. It also gives them plenty of time to get those RSVPs in, so you can kick back and get down to planning the good stuff… (i.e. food and booze 😉 )
2. Dress Code
When you’re writing out your invitations, make sure you let your guests know what they’re expected to wear. Is it a super-casual friendmas with drinks and games? Or are we talking bow ties and tiaras – or something in between?
3. Parking, Logistics and Warning the Neighbours
Maybe this one ought to be done and dusted loooooong before you send out those invitations. Hosting any party is tough; it’s easy enough to invite everyone around before considering how it’ll actually work. Like, how will your guests get to your place? If they’re driving, where can they park without pissing off the neighbours? And speaking of the neighbours, will they mind you hosting a noisy Christmas Party (and do you care?)? Which rooms are off limits? Do you have enough space to host five people? Ten people? Your whole neigbourhood? Where are all the coats and bags going to go? Shoes – on or off? Also, what’s your budget when it comes to food and drink? Get the big questions answered and out of the way as soon as you can – it’ll save problems further down the line or worse, on the night. 🙂
“Oh Baby, all I want for Christmas is fooooooooood!” Now let’s down to the good stuff! Because let’s be honest, the best thing about Christmas is stuffing your face, innit? Before you hit the supermarket, before you even get down to making a list (and checking it twice 😉 ) think about what kind of party you’re hosting because the kind of food you’re going to be serving will depend on that. Are you planning on serving up a full Christmas Dinner complete with pigs in blankets and a flaming pud? Are you putting on a “help yourself” buffet? Or are you just serving up snacks? Or, are you going to take the weight off and ask everyone to bring a dish (in which case you probably should mention that in your invites, right?)?
Personally, I love putting on a Christmas Buffet and pretty much do it every single year for my family on Boxing Day. It’s easier than putting on a full Christmas Dinner, you can get it all ready before hand (instead of spending the whole party slaving away in the kitchen!), and everyone gets a little bit of what they fancy. My go-to every Christmas for party food is *Marks and Spencer because they’re all so easy to prepare, taste amazing and there’s such a fab selection (even for vegans – with these vegan sliders). A festive scoffing sesh in my house just would not be complete without their pork belly squares, profiteroles and baked Camembert – which this year, I have to say is the best yet with its spicy and sweet chilli glaze (the only reason there’s no photo is because it got annihilated within seconds). Yum!
5. Party Games
It wouldn’t be a party without a little entertainment, right? So have a think about how you’re going to keep the good times rollin’ in between catch-ups and conversations. How about putting on a pub quiz Big Quiz of the Year style with questions based on things that have happened in the past twelve months? What about a few drinking games to get the juices flowing? Or go all out with a monster game of Cards Against Humanity. 🙂
Once you’ve finished planning your shopping list, make a drinks list. Check your drinks cabinet (i.e. the cupboard under the sink if you’re like me!) and see what’s in stock and what’s running out. Put all the drinks and mixers somewhere easily accessible so your guests can help themselves throughout the party. If you’re feeling fancy come up with a few festive cocktails in pitchers or create a suggested drinks menu! 🙂
7. Deck the Halls
If you haven’t already got your Christmas Decorations up, now’s the time! Consider which rooms you’re going to be using and get them looking festive with fairy lights and garlands.
8. Christmas Playlist
If you’re like me then you’ll already have one of these babies on your Spotify just ready and raring to go! I don’t like to have a playlist that’s just chocka full of pure Christmas though – I mean, there’s only so many times you can hear The Pogues before banging your head against wall. I’ve got all the usual numbers old and new, but I like to mix it up with some classics and a few hits from the past twelve months. I also LOVE sneaking in a few Vitamin String Quartet covers. If you’ve never looked them up on Spotify, its basically a group of LA-based musicians who work at recording new versions of well-known songs using a string quartet. There’s something kind of festive about their music, and it’s fun watching people hear a song they recognise reworked in a totally different way.
9. Game Plan (timings etc)
I like coming up with a game plan before a party, especially when it comes to food. I like to know exactly what time I need to put the oven on, put food in, take food out etc… Making a list helps me keep on top of things and saves a lot of stress on the day. It’s also great if you’re co-hosting – that way you don’t have to keep touching base with each other, you can just check the game plan!
10. *And if you’re going to a party…
Don’t forget to take a little something for your host! It’s good manners and is always well appreciated. Sure you could take a bottle of something, but how about spoiling them with an extra special box of chocolates? This box of fancy chocs from Marks and Spencer not only looks gorgeous, but is an absolute treat.
Thanks to Marks and Spencer for the fabulous food and drink! Happy partying! 😉
*This post contains gifted items, read more about what that means here.