Stress Free Christmas Part 8: Christmas Party Planning

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Christmas Party Time!

Well, here we are at Part 8!  Hopefully, you’re feeling nothing but a sense of excited anticipation when the word Christmas comes up.  No sense of panic or dread for us this year!

This week, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty of what you’ll be serving your guests at your Christmas party, whether it be an intimate gathering for dinner or a big crowd of friends for drinks and nibbles (or anything in between!)

You’ll see I’ve mentioned outfit planning too.  This isn’t because I have any intention of getting into fashion advice – I would be very ill equipped to do so!  It is more to just cover a couple of practical pointers to consider if you’re hosting your own party.

So, onwards we go – recipe books at the ready and let’s get menu planning!

The Menu

Hopefully you have already decided what kind of party you’re having because this will largely drive what type of menu you will be serving.

Party Menu Pointers

  • Don’t make everything too rich.  One rich course is a decadent treat.  Three rich courses is a recipe for over-full, sleepy and uncomfortable guests!
  • Consider a theme.  You may want to serve an Italian feast, or a Middle Eastern banquet.  Alternatively, you might want to go for Pub food classics or 80’s retro.
  • Consider what drinks you serve and whether they will go with the food.  It’s worth looking online if you’re not a wine expert – there’s loads of great advice on what goes with what.
  • Check whether your guests have any special dietary requirements!  You don’t want to present people with the finest fillet steak, only to discover they’re vegetarians!  Equally, you don’t want someone collapsing on your carpet because they have a nut allergy and didn’t realise your cake was made with ground almonds…
  • If you’re doing drinks and nibbles, consider how many nibbles to serve.  If you listen to all the various domestic goddesses out there, they all give the same advice.  Just 3 or 4 different things will keep people happy and there’s no reason why a couple of these can’t just be shop bought, assembly jobs.  People would be frankly disappointed not to see one of the classic nibbles like nuts, olives or pretzels so while it may feel like cheating, it’s giving your friends what they crave – I promise!
  • How many different types of drink will you offer? It’s best to decide from the off what you want to serve your guests in terms of drink.  Will it be a cocktail evening, or wine and beer or maybe just fizz all the way?  Whatever you do, don’t feel that you need to offer a full bar.  People won’t expect this when they go to someone’s home.
  • How will you present the food and drink?  Drinks and nibbles tend to be pretty informal, so it should just be case of either putting all your nibbles on one table, or dotting them about the room, depending on what works best in your house.  For drinks, you need to decide if you’re going to go around serving them yourself (in which case, you should probably enlist some help) or (my preference) whether you want to set up a little drinks station on a table somewhere so that people can just help themselves.

Menu Ideas

If you’re looking for inspiration on what to serve, then here’s a helping hand from the trusty internet..

Dinner Party Recipes – from Delicious Magazine

Dinner Party Recipes – from Jamie Online

Dinner Party Recipes – from Woman & Home

Getting the right outfit

I must stress again, this is not about fashion advice!  I just want to offer a couple of points to consider when picking what to wear, in order to avoid discomfort and yes, even disaster, later on.

  • Think about what colour you will wear.  If you’re going to be cooking anything that’s likely to spit or spill then white (or in fact anything light) is probably asking for trouble – even if you wear an apron!
  • Look hot but not hot. You’ll be doing a fair amount of rushing around, and potentially working in a hot kitchen so allow for the fact that you’ll probably be pretty warm without the aid of jumpers and thick tights!

Have your say

What Christmas Party Menus  have you tried and had success with?  I’d love to hear from you!

Take me to Part 9: Christmas Cake

Catch Up

Part 1: Christmas Budget

Part 2: Making Christmas lists & Checking them twice

Part 3: Picking Presents

Part 4: Pickling Presents

Part 5: Christmas Party Invites

Part 6: Christmas Shopping

Part 7: Christmas Food & Drink Planning

Colette Broomhead

I am a 30 something mother of 2 little boys and I live with them and my husband in Nottingham. My passions are my family and friends, my kitchen, my cookery books and all things food and drink!

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