You've sent out the invites and planned what to cook. Now it's time to bring out the baubles, wrestle with the fairy lights and get ready for a great evening with your friends. Keep the pressure to a minimum and emerge as the smoothest hostess with some of our top tips below.
Get the conversation going from the moment your guests arrive by encouraging everyone to get involved in a theme. It could be a colour theme, like orange and gold, green and silver, or classic red and white. Or what about a dressing-up theme, such as the Wild West with tinsel, Santa's helpers, or even simply posh frocks and black tie. Carry the theme through with the table decorations and any food and drinks served, just mind the glitter!
Smoked salmon isn't for pudding!
To be as relaxed and in the party mood as possible, see what food preparation can be done a day or two beforehand. If it's buffet-style, make life even easier by asking your guests to bring a dish, there are some great Christmas finger food style recipes on the BBC Goodfood website. If you're offering a main course, you could ask your guests to bring a starter, dessert, or some interesting cheeses. Keep track of who's bringing what, though, otherwise you might end up with smoked salmon for a starter - and for pudding!
Try new drinks recipes beforehand. Just not too many of them at once, of course! The day before is also a good time to gather spirits and cocktail juice bases, put fruits such as olives, lemons, limes, and cherries into pretty glass bowls, stock up with ice, themed swizzler sticks and brightly coloured straws, and check that you have enough appropriate glassware for your cocktail station. Why not include a few non-alcoholic versions, too! There are plenty of delicious recipes online, such as: a Shirley Temple, a Virgin Bloody Mary, or a Grinch Punch for fun. To top the evening off, a couple of our special handmade chocolates are a perfect accompaniment served with coffee.
Surprises & Games
Surprises and entertainment really add to the festive mood. 'Name out of the hat' Christmas karaoke, rounds of Charades, and the Secret Santa scenario - where each person brings a small gift for one other guest that can be opened on the spot - are always great fun. There are loads of festive games to choose from to keep the party going all night long. Happy party planning!