Hosting your friends and family at Christmas may seem like a good idea, but two hours deep into basting a dead animal and pouring away your beloved wine stash, and you’re starting to miss being the un-responsible guest who hides with a box of quality streets in the corner. But it’s too late to back out of your hosting duties now, and you’re no quitter. After two whole years of Christmas dinners under my hosting belt, I’ve put together some top tips to help make your hostessing run smoother than your gravy.
1. Ask your guests bring a bottle. Your fridge might look like you’re starting your own nightclub, but you can never have enough booze in the house when it comes to hostessing. Nothing irks guests more or says *parties over!* than empty bottles of secco’. Keep the drinks flowing and they’ll most likely forget any mishaps when it comes to burning the potatoes. Plus, if there’s some left over you can always send your guests home with their bottle, tricking them into feeling like they’re going home with a gift… a gift they brought nonetheless, but they won’t remember that after all the bubbles.
2. Make sure there’s plenty of food. This might sound like an obvious one, but having enough food left over for seconds adds some excitement to the day, plus you don’t want your guests feeling unsatisfied. Nothing spreads Christmas cheer more than discovering the left-over Yorkshire puddings to soak up all the alcohol.
3. It’s the little things that count. Every time I’d host, I’d always go out of my way to add a personal touch to the day. From themed menu’s and drinks, to hand making personalised Pom-Pom tree decorations, your guests will always appreciate the little things which show you care. If you’re not very crafty, Etsy is great for personalised tree decorations and at reasonable prices.
4. Make sure there’s entertainment. Because what’s an episode of Come Dine With Me without seeing four strangers in a hot tub and a pub singer blasting out Frank Sinatra in someone’s living room. Beer pong is an easy drinking game to involve everyone, and certainly one which gets the party going. Board games always go down well, but you might want to by pass a lengthy game of Monopoloy for a quick fire round of Articulate. Playing cards are also another great game to have handy, and I guarantee each of your guests will have their own style of ‘Ring of Fire’ to spice things up a bit.
5. Keep the conversation light-hearted. The drinks are flowing, feelings aren’t heightened and everyone’s enjoying themselves. But with groups of people always comes conflict, so as the hostess you’re going to want to try keep that to a minimum. You’re the ring-master, so you get to decide what mood the night heads in. If things start getting a little heated (ban the ‘B’ word from the table!) then try change the conversation with some good old nostalgia. Reminding Jack and Jill how they snogged at the last work party is sure to divert convo from the no-go zone.
6. You’re there to host, but remember to have fun! If you’re stressing about the crunch of your parsnips and how set your cheesecake is, your guests are going to pick up on your bad vibes. If you’re happy, they’re happy. So fuck the parsnips, pour yourself a glass of wine and let them burn. They actually taste quite nice pretty toasted anyway.
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Ah Christmas. A time for giving, a time for getting, a time for swearing and throwing pigs and blankets at your little brother who laughed at your new Christmas jumper. Having to spend time with work colleagues you’ve spent the year trying to avoid in the lift, and family members who you’ve muted on Facebook is enough to make anyone scream ‘YOU’RE NOT MY MUM’ (An Eastenders Christmas classic). But whilst telling your Uncle who sympathises with Prince Andrew to fuck off might seem like a good idea, somethings at the dinner table are better left unsaid- at least until you’re out of the roast potato firing zone. Who am I kidding, no one wastes roast potatoes. Here’s my top tips on What not to say this Christmas to avoid that family argument.
Who did you vote for in the general election? Just don’t. This is never going to end well. What exists in your mind as a polite exchange of knowledgeable opinions and concerns for the country will only end with a ‘DIDN’T KNOW YOU WERE A SECRET RACIST’ and a ‘What, You hate Jews do you?”. Political conversations belong on Twitter, where you can argue with a total stranger about things neither of you understand. It’s so much easier to block a username than your Gran.
Not another bath bomb. You get the hint, you must stink. Bath bombs, Shower Gel and some weird Body mist no-one knows they purpose of, your bathroom kitchen is going to look like Boots spewed up in it. But of course, you love your present. Another Lynx Africa ser is just what you wanted. You‘ll be thankful for it come September when you find it round the back of the sink.
The meats a bit tough. Your designated cook has been slaving away in the kitchen since 7am, spritzing the Turkey with oil like it’s one of the lads of Geordie Shore prepping for a day at the beach. They’ve shoved their hands up the arse of a bird, also like the lads off Geordie Sh…. never mind. Their hair stinks of goosefat and the tiredness in their eyes circle their pupils like a festive red bauble. They’ve spent months debating whether to follow Gordon Ramsay’s or Jamie Oliver’s recipe, only to forget to season the dried up bird altogether. She’s drier than ghandi’s flip flop and she’s tougher than a Tory cutting NHS funding, but by god almighty the last thing you do is tell the cook what you really think. You must mutter how delicious it is whilst helping it down with a gulp of prosecco in-between each bite. If you’re feeling brave, sneak some under the table for the dog. If he’ll have it.
I don’t even like Christmas. Allow me to let you in to a little Christmas secret, no-one cares. Sure the festive spirit isn’t for everyone but you’ve made it this far, so just shove on your paper hat and give the fortune teller fish a go. And if all that fails, pour yourself another tipple and let the alcohol fade out the noise of people actually having fun.
I don’t want to listen to the Queen’s Speech. The Queen hasn’t sat quietly through rumours of her death started by a guy with a penis as his profile pictures and her years of speculation about her husbands infidelity for you to find your Aunt Karen’s story about her bunion operation more interesting than Her Majesty’s speech. It’s just what we Brits do. Like putting the teabag in first or saying Ant before Dec, the Queen’s speech is a quintessential tradition for all households to raise a glass too. And if you’re not a royalist, it’s just another excuse to drink. Hoorah.
Board Games are for kids. Do the kids have to have all the god damn fun on Christmas Day? They’ve already got Santa, let us have Articulate I beg you. From a good old fashioned game of monopoly which no-one enjoys playing, to a game of ‘HEADS UP’ on your little sisters phone (Okay so it’s technically not a board game but it’s the 21st Century guys, save them trees), spending quality time with people you don’t like, playing games you can’t stand is what Christmas is all about. So crack out the Scrabble board, It’s what Jesus would have wanted.
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Whilst the promise of an over-priced mulled wine and an Instagram pic’ opportunity at the local Christmas Market may be enough to entice the woman in your life out onto the shopper-littered streets, personally you couldn’t think of anything worse than pulling on your beanie hat and tackling the dreaded Christmas shop. As the 1st of December hits and the festive reality sinks in, men across the land let out collective sighs of ‘What the hell am I going to get Mum this year?‘ and ‘Girls are so difficult to shop for!‘. But Christmas shopping for your girlfriend doesn’t have to end in a last-minute dash to Boots on Christmas Eve.
I’ve put together the ultimate gift guide for women, by a woman which will save your Mum from another bath bomb set and have your wife gleefully unwrapping your sack this year. It’s a Christmas miracle!
Set her up for a goal-kicking 2020 with this journal. Jam-packed with mindful text and inspirational activities to release the bad-ass woman inside, this on-trend, pastel-hue diary with a twist will have her breaking down ceilings and conquering her goals before you can say ‘Nasty Woman’.
Show her that you really do remember making those memories with this personalised map detail scented candle. A gold love heart marks the spot, putting your special place on the map and confirming your spot as the romantic one out of all her mates BF’s. If you really want to show off, add your own message to the lid and secure your space in the boyfriend hall of fame forever.
For: The Australian girlfriend you met on your gap year.
www.joules.com , £30 – *CURRENTLY £27 IN THE BLACK FRIDAY SALE! Plus Free Standard Delivery
Most women only want two things- to save the planet and look stylish doing so. Okay, that’s a total exaggeration, but it’s a damn good place to start. Help set her up for the day with this practical jute bag, big enough to hide a bottle of sauvignion in on parents evenings.
Indoor plants are having their en vogue moment right now, and with cacti and succulents leading the pack even the laziest of green fingers can get involved with this trend. Add some colour into her life with this on-trend plant pot. Note, you’ll probably want to buy a plant for her too.
For: Your mum who’s sick of scarves.
Price: from £27.99 , bag a discount when you sign up to their newsletter.
annsummers.com , £50 – *CURRENTLY HALF PRICE IN THE BLACK FRIDAY SALE!!! NOW ONLY £25.00
Don’t shy away from buying your partner sexy lingerie. Receiving a sexy gift could be the ego boost she is looking for and can remind her that you still fancy her and want to see her looking- and most importantly feeling beautiful. This body is a flattering design which covers the stomach (an area many women are self-conscious about) while still showing off those gorgeous curves of hers. Tip: Nose through her underwear drawer in the least pervy way possible to find out her size, choosing the wrong one could be a touchy subject.
For: The fiánce who needs to take her mind off the wedding planning.
Price: £50, sign up to their newsletter for discounts. – CURRENTLY £25.00 IN THE BLACK FRIDAY SALE!
Stop trying to fight the self-tan battle with your GF because you’re never going to win. Instead, get on board and introduce her to the perfect Summer glow with this tanning mousse, made of organic and natural ingredients. No more biscuit smell for you, no more patchy tan for her- win win!
For: Your New Years Eve Party Date- *probably won’t recommend as a gift if it’s your first date, although it’d certainly break the ice.
Actions speak louder than words, and your older sister never lets you get a word in edge ways anyway. Share the sibling banter and say it with a cushion. Check out the seller’s etsy shop as they also do customised requests, in case you’ve got something personal to get off your chest.
For: Your bossy older sister who used to eat worms as a kid.
bloomandwild.com, from £65 – *BLACK FRIDAY SALE! SAVE 15% OFF WITH CODE BRIGHTFRI
Because giving isn’t just for Christmas. Buy your loved one a flower subscription and spread the Christms cheer throughout the year. Starting off with a 3-month option and expanding to a years subscription, this gift is perfect for your gran who’ll appreciate the virtual hug and gentle reminder that you’re thinking of her throughout the year.
For: Your loveable Nan who you don’t get to see as much as you’d like.
very.co.uk, £64.99 – *CURRENTLY £57.99 IN THE BLACK FRIDAY SALE!
OKAY Boomer. So you blinked and suddenly your little girl is now a teenager and your once hero status has been demoted to embarassing dad. Gain brownie points fast with this purple instax mini camera, perfect for capturing all those totes emosh moments with her BFF’s.
For: Your Instagram obsessed teenage Daughter
Price: £64.99 – *CURRENTLY £57.99 IN THE BLACK FRIDAY SALE!
It’s so ugly that it’s bloody great. This pussycat shaped salt lamp will serve more purpose than just looking ghastly on a cat lovers bedside table. Himalayan salt lamps work as natural ionisers, helping to keep the air clean and give off the perfect orange-y hue to relax under after a long day at work. I personally think everyone should own one of these lamps, they add such a comforting glow to a room and make the perfect gift.
For: Your mum, your girlfriend, your wife, and you.
Shop at sourcediy.com – if the kitty isn’t doing it for you, you can purchase a crystal shaped lamp here.
The must-have accessory of the season, the Rose Quartz Face Massage rollers are said to encourage lymphatic circulation and drainage, and cell turnover, which helps to reduce tension and inflammation in the skin. They also wipe away your tears when you’re feeling a little down. Sounds like a winner to me.
For: Your hormonal lover who doesn’t want to get dressed unless it involves going out to buy Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.