Bet you’re feeling festive. Already watched Elf, nicked most of the chocolate from the kids’ advent calendar, put the tree up and it’s only the first week of December.
Everyone’s welcome to your warm festive home, but then the icy grip of reality that there’s only actually three week’s left, at least a months’ worth of your day job to fit in, endless enforced jollity, a house to clean, presents to buy, kids’ costumes as well as your own ‘ironic’ Xmas sweater to get and you’ve invited the world and his wife (who’s also stressed-out) to drop by.
So, here’s the top 10 best hosting hacks from Circulon to ensure it’s not total pandemonium and you enjoy the Christmas spirit – you’re welcome.
1. KISS. To paraphrase, Keep It Simple Stupid. Such as choosing a colour scheme throughout to make you look uber co-ordinated, for everything from decorations to table settings, cards and wrapping. Stick to two colours and remember metallics are hot this season.
2. BATCH. Cook in quantity. Your freezer is your best friend, and everyone wants comfort food this time of year. Give firm favourites a festive make-over, such as chilli con carne with a mulled-wine sauce (add ready made mulled wine rather than your usual cooking red). De-frost as needed.
3. SMELL. Nothing beats a real tree for evoking the nostalgia of their childhood Christmas’s and it will put guests in a cheery, convivial mood, as soon as they’re through the door. If you’ve room, put a real one in the hallway and go artificial elsewhere so you can keep entertaining areas tidy and needle-free.
4. SMART. Set the scene before you leave the office using technology to do the hard grind for you. Websites like Future Home Shop have the latest tech you can activate from your phone. Whether it’s turning on the heating and lights in advance to activating a slow-cooker or even checking the fridge to ensure you have enough Christmas ‘spirts’ in.
5. CHEAT. ‘K we’ve all been here, passing off bought-in as homemade. But at least make it realistic. Keep a stock of fresh herbs so you can garnish, dent edges and mush things up a little, so they’re not too perfect. Recycle the packaging before guests arrive.
6. CUTE. Get the kids involved in prep. A great way to have family time, be festive and keep little ones entertained. They can be your own little helpers, icing gingerbread, making mince pies and other treats. And if they act as mini-waiters, even the hardest to please guests will melt, no matter how the end results turned out.
7. FONDUE. Hygge may be so last year but Scandi’s still cool and you must hand it to them, what could look as good but be so easy to make, than a fondue? Go sweet or savoury, melting cheese or chocolate and then get guests to dip in. No need to buy a set, just use a pan and a low light. Forks are as good as skewers and you can do individual bowls to avoid serial double-dippers.
8. ENTERTAIN. There’s one thing you can sort in advance and that’s entertainment. Festive films are a way to keep kids quiet without earning the tuts of the mum set that normal telly would. Why not project against a plain wall or sheet for a home cinema experience (there’s an app for that which means you don’t need a projector). Have a hat, pen and paper handy for traditional charades and scour charity shops for board games in advance. Treasure trails to hunt Christmas’ treat are also another way to keep youngsters’ amused.
9. MUSIC. What is more festive than a good old fashion sing song. Keep it simple and choose well-loved Christmas anthems and you can create lists in advance. A sonic system will enable you to play them in any room, providing a perfect sound track for your party.
10. REMEMBER. At the end of the day, it’s all about enjoying the party season so do what makes you and yours happy #IT’SCHRISTMAS!
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