You’ve just offered to host Christmas for the first time, but once the excitement of the occasion has had a chance to sink in, you’re starting to feel a bit of panic. How will you get it all done and create a wonderful day everyone will remember?
Take a deep breath and take a look through our guide to seamlessly plan your big day without a hitch. From decorating to creating a menu and preparing for guests, we’ve got you covered.
Preparing for guests
First things first, make sure you give your home a good clean. You can do this in the days proceeding the arrival of your guests on the day, of course, but what you don’t want is to be facing a whole-home clean on the same day as everyone is arriving.
Pay special attention to areas that guests will be spending time in, whether that’s your dining or living rooms, your guest bedroom or the bathroom.
We’ve shared tips for creating a great guest bedroom in this post but at a minimum, just ensure you have clean bedding and a fresh set of towels if you’re expecting overnight guests.
In the bathroom, a small posy of few fresh flowers and a candle burning or a reed diffuser will offer some fresh scent and make sure you set out some fresh hand towels, hand soap and extra toilet roll too.
Decorating your home
Don’t worry too much about having to have your entire home decorated to the nine’s in Christmas decor. A twinkling tree, few strings of fairy lights, a spattering of candles and some greenery can go a long way and create a classy, minimalist Christmas look.
The most important thing is to keep things simple. Your guests are there to enjoy your company and each other’s so you’ll want to ensure you have plenty of seating as well as areas for guests to set down drinks.
Check out our blog post on how to make the most of your furniture at Christmas here for more guidance on getting the placement just right for company.
Decorating the table
You’ll want to ensure you have plenty of space on your table for the main attraction – the food. So don’t worry about cluttering it up with too much extra embellishment. If your table has seen better days, consider a simple table runner or table cloth to set the scene and consider a few small tea light holders scattered across the length.
For some extra embellishment, consider adding a small inexpensive ornament to each setting, tied around a napkin ring, to allow guests to take home with them or add a sprig of holly for a festive touch.
For more tips on decorating, check out our Christmas styling guide.
Give yourself time to plan the menu, including any extra side dishes. Remember not to be too ambitious if you’re hosting for the first time.
When the menu is set, get everything you need a couple of days before, and be sure to make anything that you can ahead of the day too. Veggies can be pre-cut and stored in the fridge and side dishes like stuffing, roast potatoes or desserts can easily be made beforehand and heated back up on the day.
Before the big day, plan what you’ll want to cook, how long it’s going to take to make and when the oven will be in use. And then create a tick list of timings that you can follow on the big day. Delegate anything you can to guests eager to help out.
Take full advantage of your newbie-status by asking guests to bring a dish (or a bottle of booze!) with them on the day as well and spread some of the cost and responsibility.
On the day
Finally, on the big day, relax! The most important thing your guests will be looking forward to is the gathering itself as this is what the holiday is all about. Even if you’ve overcooked the carrots or the turkey is a bit too dry, the likelihood is your guests won’t mind and it really won’t matter. Accept help graciously on the day and remember to smile, breathe and enjoy yourself. It’s Christmas, after all.