Many of us are guilty of putting too much pressure on ourselves to get everything just right when we're entertaining and this seems to be amplified when it comes to Christmas entertaining. Decorating the house, styling your reclaimed wood dining table and getting the lunch or dinner just perfect. Here we have put together a few suggestions that may help take the pressure off a bit – so you actually get to sit back and relax and your dinner parties will run like clockwork.
5 Festive ways to impress your guests
1. Shop in advance
Getting the shopping finished early is a great way to rid yourself of at least some stress. Even without talk of potential shortages, it is always a good idea to get stocked up early – it helps spread the cost as well. Items like freezer items, wine, beer, gifts, biscuits, snacks and the Christmas pudding, will all keep for a long time, so you can buy weeks in advance. Many online shops are again extending their return periods so you can easily return things if you see something better a little later on. However, if you are thinking of buying bigger items like an extendable table or new fabric dining chairs for Christmas then don't leave it too late!
2. Prepare and freeze
To make life easier over the holidays, much of the food preparation can be done in advance. Homemade stuffing and some home bakes can all be prepared now – just keep a list of what you have done and cross off items as you get more organised. Also think about preparing and blanching vegetables, you can peel potatoes and parsnips the evening before your dinner, salad can also be prepped and kept in airtight containers in the fridge overnight.
3. Wrap those gifts
Christmas always seems to sneak up on us – as soon as it turns December the time just flies by and before you know it it’s the 23rd. Wrap presents as you buy them it is surprising how much time this does end up taking up, especially stocking presents! Pop them under the Christmas tree or hide them at the back of your rustic wardrobe or wooden blanket box. If time is really short, select the gift wrapping service from stores and get someone else to wrap!
4. Plan your table setting
This is the fun part. Think about how you are going to set your dining table now – there is nothing worse than having an idea and just not being able to find all or some of the components you want. Planning now gives you plenty of time to shop around and even tweak your plan if you need to. The rustic dining table looks good with natural decorations, warm colours and natural evergreen foliage along the centre. For a reclaimed wood dining table, you can add contrast by choosing a glamorous gold or silver theme. And of course, there's no reason you can't set the table the day before!
Organise your cupboards
Allocate a section in your kitchen dresser or cupboard in which to keep Christmas supplies – candles, serviettes, snacks, chocolates, pickles and pretty much everything you have bought to keep for the holidays. At least you’ll know where to find everything when you need to and you won't use anything by mistake. If you have a cocktail cabinet then get this tidied up and check out what you're running short of. Wash and polish glasses that haven't been used in a while and make sure you have ice buckets, stirrers, shakers and anything else you need when mixing cocktails. And finally, if you have a wooden sideboard in your dining room, check your serving dishes for chips or cracks and enough cutlery.