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!

Style at Home (UK) - - Contents -

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.

That’s en­ter­tain­ment

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

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