hosting xmas eve at yours
’Twas the night before Christmas, when savvy Style At Home readers threw the perfect party with our easy how-to guide!
Whether you have guests staying over the festive holidays or you’re simply hosting friends and family for a few hours, a Christmas Eve gettogether is a brilliant warm-up for the main event. A little extra planning will ensure your night-before-christmas celebrations are a stress-free success, too.
First things first, set the scene with the entrance to your home. Pop some lanterns or outdoor fairy lights outside the door, hang a wreath or spray fake snow onto windows. Keep the welcome going in the hall with garlands, candlelight and other festive decorations. Adding natural touches such as cinnamon sticks and dried orange slices will create a wonderful aroma.
Eat, drink & be merry
Set up a bar area to present champagne and soft drinks on arrival, and include fun touches such as party poppers. If you’re hosting a few people, try a self-service cocktail bar with sliced lemons and limes, an ice bucket, alcoholic drinks and mixers.
For food, consider an informal buffet for Christmas Eve (which is also practical if you have visitors arriving at different times). Go for appetisers you can make in advance or that simply need heating up or finishing off when guests arrive, as well as ensuring you have plenty of nuts, crisps and olives in bowls.
Stock up on some classic board games that everyone can enjoy, or set up a ‘prop box’ for a twist on charades, full of fancy dress items and accessories. Make any children feel included and considered by setting up their own little seating area, complete with floor cushions and a low table filled with craft supplies, and encourage them to make Christmas decorations to add to the tree. Or, if nobody’s feeling energetic, concentrate on making your guests extra cosy by providing lots of blankets and chunky-knit oversized socks so everyone can snuggle up in front of a classic Christmas movie. Light the fire (or lots of candles) and offer up mugs of rich hot chocolate topped with marshmallows. And remember, never
leave lit candles unattended or in a place where children can easily reach them.
Hostess with the mostess
If you’re hosting guests overnight, add simple festive touches to your spare room. Place Yuletide-themed ornaments on bedside tables, or adorn headboards with fairy lights or a leafy garland. If children are staying and you don’t have enough beds for everyone, set up a cute den for them. Draping netting above an inflatable bed and adorning it with cushions and blankets will make them happy, as will hanging up a stocking so they know Father Christmas will find them despite being away from home.
Balloons aren’t just for Birthdays – group Bundles of them in red, green, white or metallic hues for a party atmosphere
Give yourself one fewer job to do, and invite your guests to decorate the tree!
Cupboard, £49.99; candelabra, £49.99; feather wreath, £12.99, all Homesense
Cabinet, £180; Ice bucket, £12.99; glasses from £4.99 each; paper fans, £12.99, all TK Maxx
vilac native Indian tent, £82; light-up snowflake, £108, both Smallable
Melrose armchair, £949; Snowshill rug, £200, both John Lewis
Star lights, from £25; Linea margarita glasses, £35 for four, both House of fraser