Feel­ing fes­tive

In her fi­nal col­umn, Jenna Elsby goes out with a bang host­ing a fes­tive drinks party

Surrey Life - - Dine At Home With Jenna -

It goes with­out say­ing that Christ­mas is all about joy, cel­e­bra­tion and warmth. How­ever, it’s such a ridicu­lously busy time of year that it can so eas­ily be­come over­whelm­ing and stress­ful.

If you’re hav­ing peo­ple over for a fes­tive get to­gether, I truly hope you man­age to let go of the stress and re­mem­ber the sen­ti­ment of the sea­son. Peo­ple don’t care if ev­ery­thing isn’t “per­fect”, it’s about get­ting to­gether and the ex­pe­ri­ence should be joy­ful, oth­er­wise what’s the point?

When I’m en­ter­tain­ing, my first pri­or­ity is to cre­ate an in­for­mal atmosphere of com­fort and calm, so even if ev­ery­thing isn’t ready by the time guests ar­rive, who cares? Get them to help – as long as the drinks are poured and the mu­sic is on, no one minds a jot.

When it comes to Christ­mas, there are clas­sic colours and flavours that peo­ple come to love and ex­pect – so in­stead of try­ing to rein­vent the wheel, I em­brace the sea­son and all the clichés that go with it, be­cause if you can’t dial up the “cheese-fac­tor” at Christ­mas, when can you? This par­tic­u­lar fes­tive party con­cept is won­der­fully sim­ple; you can do most of the prep be­fore­hand and most im­por­tantly, it’s de­li­cious. So give it a go and en­joy your Christ­mas host­ing, I dare you.

The styling here cen­tres around nos­tal­gia and whimsy, with an adult take on a child­hood Christ­mas. It’s all a bit twee and kitsch with the use of ever-fa­mil­iar sea­sonal icons – rein­deers, candy canes, fir trees etc. but by ex­er­cis­ing a bit of re­straint you can make this look far more chic then tacky. This set­ting won’t fail to put a smile on your guests’ faces as it’s fa­mil­iar and com­fort­ing rather than fussy and overly for­mal. A rich palette of berry reds, bur­nished gold, dark wood, soft white and for­est greens pro­vide the quin­tes­sen­tial back­drop to any Christ­mas ta­ble. Com­ple­ment the rich colours with sump­tu­ous tex­tures, like faux fur, wood, fo­liage, vel­vet, cut glass, any­thing with depth and body. I like to layer up all of these el­e­ments on the din­ing ta­ble or main fo­cal point of the party and add the food el­e­ments as and when they are ready so peo­ple can graze over the course of the evening.

Be­cause we’ve taken it quite far in the twee stakes as far as styling is con­cerned, I would go for more so­phis­ti­cated when it comes to mu­sic. This will im­me­di­ately el­e­vate the tone of the whole oc­ca­sion rather than turn­ing the evening into a sort of Christ­mas par­ody. Think soul­ful, jaz­zstyle Christ­mas clas­sics or even acous­tic cov­ers at the be­gin­ning of the evening that lead up to the more up­beat top-tap­pers.

De­spite what peo­ple might think or fear, I be­lieve host­ing friends at Christ­mas is the least stress­ful time to en­ter­tain. Peo­ple are in great spir­its, you don’t have to be too in­ven­tive as there is a tried and tested for­mula that peo­ple love and your guests will be so grate­ful that you have taken on the chal­lenge and they can “have an evening off” that you will be in­un­dated with San­tas’s lit­tle helpers over the course of the evening…even if they are slightly merry on fes­tive fizz.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.