Hosting a get together around Christmas is one of the most satisfying and stressful things one can put oneself through. The guests, the prep, the cleaning, the clean up, it can all be a nightmare if you’re not well-versed in the art of effortless entertaining. So we’ve put together 9 easy things you can do to make your life less stressful on Christmas Day. That don’t involve any crafts or toilet paper rolls.
1. Clever Seating
Unless you’re one of those effortlessly chic families that entertains large groups regularly, you’re going to need to assess your seating situation. Stackable or folding chairs are a great thing to have a stash of. You can haul them in when the time requires and quietly pack them away when the dust has settled. For the kids’ table? Invest in 4-6 stools which can function as kitchen stools or plant stands afterwards.
If you’re short on space, we love the idea of double-use furniture. Ottomans and benches can be used as guest seating, kids nap spaces and storage spaces. Have some trunks or heavy boxes? Chuck a throw and some cushions over them and you’ve got extra kids’ seating!
2. Quick Storage
Whilst we always want to have everything tidy and organized prior to hosting, the reality is that this rarely happens. A fantastic way to do a lightening-tidy beforehand is to grab some attractive reed baskets and chuck any itinerant pet or kids toys, objects, files, unfinished projects in there to create space. Grab one or two to keep in the corner of each room, and you’ll be able to easily find everything afterwards. They also function as great gift carriers to and from friend’s houses or as baskets to place unwanted Christmas wrapping.
3. Keep Your (Drinks) Cool
The number one rule of an Aussie BBQ – never let the drinks get cold! However often our fridges are at capacity as is, with all the salads, stuffings and seasonings- so trying to fit in a slab and 6 bottles of champagne is a challenge. A fantastic gadget to have on hand is an automatic bottle cooler, which will cool down any bottle within a matter of minutes.
Have a bath? Create an ice filled insta-moment by placing all your wines in your bath, and ask guests to bring a bag of ice each. That leaves the fridges for the beers and also will remind guests to grab a new bottle every time they go to the bathroom! Make it chic by sprinkling some flowers from your garden around and placing a vase of flowers nearby. And you won’t have to worry about putting your hand into an icy sludge at the end of the day, as your tub will drain away and melted ice.
4. Plan For All Weather
The one upside of Southern Hemisphere Christmas is that we get to enjoy the sun on Christmas Day. If we’re lucky that is. The weather gods often play pranks on us on Christmas Day, making it either searingly hot or rainy and wet. Plan for both by making sure you’ve got outdoor heating and umbrellas installed which will both shade and protect from rain. Now you can ease the space pressure inside and guests can freely float in and out, extending your living space.
5. Think About Plates
Especially if you’re serving multiple courses, you will eventually run out of plates. Have a dishwasher? Clear it before everyone arrives and use plates that serve multiple courses. Pop them in the dishwasher as soon as the first course in done and by the time you hit dessert you’ve got a whole new bunch of fresh plates! Oh and there’ll be a lot less washing up… Be strategic about when to clear plates, and remember that serving food sharing style in the middle of the table will save you from needing to change crockery so often.
6. Tell Mess Not To Mess With You
It’s Murphy’s Law that as soon as you do the big pre-guest house clean, it will revert to it’s pre-clean status thanks to exuberant kids, dirty pets and the general mayhem of Christmas. Keep a dust-buster handy to clean up messes and spills as they occur. Feeling clever? Tell your kids whoever fills the bag up the most by the end of the day wins a prize. It will also make the post-lunch clean up that much easier. Trust us.
7. Water Your Guests With A Well Stocked Bar Cart
It can be a mad task to ensure all your guests’ glasses are filled. Take the pressure off yourself by creating a bar cart stocked with everyone’s favourite tipples, and inviting guests to help themselves. Perhaps even suggest everyone brings a bottle to add, and that way Uncle John won’t polish off your favourite single malt! Keep mini bottles of water on the bottom of the cart for kids and to keep hydrated.
8. Multi-Purpose Glasses
Although it can be extremely satisfying having a different glass for every kind of drink, the reality is it’s just not practical on Christmas Day, especially when people are all drinking different things! Choose neutral glasses that can host wine, water, whiskey, soft drinks or cocktails, and give everyone two. They won’t die if they have to rinse it between drinks! We love a stemless wine glass or a cute tumbler.
9. Keep Corners To Kip In
The post-lunch-siesta is a fantastic tradition, and also helps guests snooze off some of the booze. Find spaces in your house that can double as beds for guests if they decide to stay over. There will inevitably be an unexpected out-of-owner, a kid who’s over-tired or a granny who falls asleep. Day beds) and ottomans are perfect for this, as are waterproof beanbags for outside or a nice hammock (although we suggest your guests move inside over night!!).
We hope you found this article helpful! For more Christmas tips click here.
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