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Tips for hosting a Christmas party

(20 Posts)
onehellofachristmas Wed 02-Dec-15 11:40:21

I'm hosting a party between Christmas and New Year for friends and family and I would like some tips about the little extras I might have overlooked.

There will be around 50 people with family coming at 3 and friends from 5 so that elderly relatives can leave before it gets busier.

There will be children.

Food ideas
Cooked ham
Joint of beef
Turkey crown
Pigs in blankets
Steak pie
Stand pie
Ham pin wheels
Potato salad
Normal salad
Tomato and feta salad
Mini jacket pots
Cheese board
Various cakes and accompaniments

Mulled wine

I'm going to have an area for coats and shoes, put candles in the bathrooms, leave some games out and put music on downstairs.

Any ideas of things I've missed or little detail tips? fsmile

TheHouseOnTheLane Wed 02-Dec-15 11:44:16

Don't light the candles in the bathroom. With children around they might get knocked...if someone else lights them they may forget about them if they've had a drink.

Just place some air freshener there.

You could make a little activity gift bag for the DC or have a craft table (just have card or paper, ready to stick foam shapes and pipe cleaners and pom poms as well as some glittery stickers. There;s no mess then but they'll be happy....

Dancingqueen17 Wed 02-Dec-15 11:50:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

longingforfun Wed 02-Dec-15 11:58:00

Use battery operated tea lights in the bathroom.

whojamaflip Wed 02-Dec-15 12:02:49

From a food point of view - we always just have nibbles at our Christmas party to do away with the need for plates and cutlery - only have a few plates which we load up for older family and friends who prefer to stay sitting down. Saves piling up the washing up or the dishwasher needing to be put through.

Agree with bowls of crisps, nuts etc. re drinks - are you going to serve spirits as well as wine etc or would it be an idea to have a huge pan of mulled wine or cider on the hob that people can help themselves to? Plenty of soft drinks for the drivers too.

whojamaflip Wed 02-Dec-15 12:04:09

Oh missed the bit about drinks - that will teach me to read the op properly blush

TheHouseOnTheLane Wed 02-Dec-15 12:11:19

Longing Why would anyone use battery operated tea lights in a bathroom? confused people need to see what they're doing and ambiance isn't necessary when you're doing a wee. I assume OP mentioned candles because of the scent not the atmosphere!

onehellofachristmas Wed 02-Dec-15 12:17:36

Thank you for all your ideas!

I'm thinking now of setting one of the DC's bedrooms up as a kids room with DVDs, X box, games and snacks. Will that keep them busy? They all vary in age.

I have glasses although probably not enough and I dread the thought of washing them all.

Will I get away with paper plates or is that really naff?

TeddTess Wed 02-Dec-15 12:18:04

you've got way too much food
you don't need 3 different roasts, 2 pies, quiche etc
just do 2 of the 3 roasts, the salads, lots (and lots, the kids will demolish it) of crusty bread, cheese etc..
maybe some bowls of crisps?

think about the lighting too, turning it down in the evening

TeddTess Wed 02-Dec-15 12:19:16

don't be surprised if people ask for tea/coffee. drives me bloody mad, but they do! such a faff.

TheHouseOnTheLane Wed 02-Dec-15 12:31:35

I think OP said that the food list was ideas only...not her actual menu.

momb Wed 02-Dec-15 12:45:13

Big bowl of undressed baby plum tomatoes.
fruit juices.
lots of grapes/celery with the cheese.

It sounds lovely, I'd just make sure that there are some much lighter options for those who are in the 'all I want is tomatoes and water' phase of Christmas that usually hits me between Christmas and new year after three weeks of rich food!

givemushypeasachance Wed 02-Dec-15 13:21:51

Is this going to be in your house? I'm just trying to imagine fitting 50 people in any house I've ever lived in! Are there enough chairs/seating areas? Depending on the proportion of children who aren't likely to spend much time wanting to sit down, that might suggest how many seats would be required. I know at our family gatherings while people start of standing around chatting there always comes a time when people want to sit in a relatively comfortable chair and have a cup of tea. That's something else like TeddTess says - if you are anything like us, then at some point mugs, a big box of teabags and some milk would need to appear! It's like with the having eaten lots of rich food recently, sometimes you just don't want another glass of booze you want a breather and a cuppa.

Sod anyone likely to get sniffy about paper plates - the person who'd have to arrange to get sufficient ceramic plates and then wash them all up afterwards decides. If it's easier then do it! And plastic cutlery, those disposable serving platters - make the clearing up as painless as possible. But if you're serving substantial food then just try to get some reasonably sturdy paper plates and not the very flimsy ones you sometimes find that can really only cope with half a sandwich before flopping everywhere.

Just another suggestion for the food list - particularly aimed at kids: even if they're picky eaters they almost never turn down cut up slices or squares of cheap pizza. Quick, easy, no fuss.

These days I'd imagine the older kids will probably bring their own phones/tablets and be engrossed in those for much of the afternoon, so it would be mainly the younger ones to keep entertained. Maybe some colouring books or very simple crafty activities to encourage the quieter, staying-put sort of being occupied instead of what they'll probably do which is run around screaming and chasing each other...

ChristmasZombie Wed 02-Dec-15 14:04:43

Please no lit candles in the bathroom! It'd be far too easy to forget about them. Not worth such a risk! Unlit scented candles would be fine though, if that's what you're planning. Or a reed diffuser. They pack a punch and look pretty. Pop it on a high shelf though, apparently the oil can be harmful to skin if it gets knocked and spilled.

YY to disposable everything! Plates, cutlery, serving dishes...even plastic "glasses" if you like! Otherwise you could hire glasses, but can you be bothered? I wouldn't!

Do you have an outdoor area the guests can spill out into? It'll probably be cold, but I think people like to be able to step out and take a breather. Also essential for smokers! Some outdoor lights will keep the area festive.

I'm jealous! I fantasise about hosting a lovely big Christmas party like this! Sometimes I plan it in my head when I can't sleep. I just wish I had a house big enough for it!

onehellofachristmas Wed 02-Dec-15 14:18:22

We have an outdoor area and there will be seating in the lounge, kitchen, dining room and conservatory. I imagine it will get busier later on when most of the people who would need to be seated have gone. There will likely be more than 50 people now I've spoken to DH but I wouldn't think more than 50 at once.

Really tempted to get all plastic glasses so no broken ones.

Added plenty of tea and coffee and pizzas to the list flowers

FinallyHere Wed 02-Dec-15 15:19:08

Sounds as if you have all the food and drink sorted. Have you given any thought to the whole 'who is doing what' part of the event? For example, i find it great to have someone 'in charge' of teas and coffees, or one for each if they are very popular. Then, anyone asking for those can be referred on to <that person>. Likewise, someone to keep the buffet tidy and possibly replenished. Someone to sweep for used glasses and plates and have them put <wherever you designate> .

Ideally you, or someone, are free to just keep an eye on what needs to happen and sort out any issues rather than being flat out serving yourself.

Have fun.

onehellofachristmas Wed 02-Dec-15 16:34:16

To be honest I was planning to do it all confused. Don't think there will be many wanting tea or coffee (very few planning to drive) and I thought I could put the food out and it could be eaten hot or cold. Bar in the kitchen for drinks and then just swan about looking fabulous fgrin

I sense something will go wrong!

onehellofachristmas Wed 02-Dec-15 22:35:17

Got a few more games under my belt now fwink

Nyancat Wed 02-Dec-15 23:12:38

We do a party like this at Christmas and Halloween, sometimes a summer one too, start in the afternoon and keep it going. Foodwise I have found the easiest is to do a ton of sausages before which can be kept warm in the oven in large trays and do hotdogs (mostly for the kids), sliced finger rolls and ketchup and they are happy with crisps and sweets supplied. I then do maybe two mains in slow cookers (borrow or steal) a curry bulked out with chick peas, potato, cauliflower etc so you don't need rice which is a faff, serve in bowls with loads of crusty bread, then either a chili or pulled pork. Again bread to accompany. The great thing is they can all be done ahead and kept on warm and nothing for you to do but drink and enjoy the party

onehellofachristmas Thu 03-Dec-15 23:22:54

I usually do one at Halloween but much less formal and with less people. I think I thought that with everyone arriving at different times a buffet would be easier.

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