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Tips and tricks to host over Christmas

Hosting a memorable Christmas is all about creating a warm, relaxed atmosphere that both you and your guests enjoy. No-one wants a stressed host and thinking about the little extras will surprise and delight your visitors. It doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant, it’s the welcoming touches that will be remembered.

Here preparation is key, think tidy but not so tidy your guests feel on edge, twinkly lighting for a festive ambiance, and single-pot dishes (or even a pot-luck dinner). From a radio playing softly in your guestroom, to a help-yourself drinks trolley to decadent hot chocolate made in a slow-cooker, these tips and tricks to host over Christmas will make you the hostess with the mostess.

Make your guestroom feel like a hotel suite

If you’re hosting over the festive period, clearing the clutter is the first place to start. If you do need to store things in your guest room, put them in under-bed storage or fitted wardrobes.

When it comes to the feeling of luxury, think of all the senses. Get the highest quality thread count linen you can for the beds and add a couple of extra pillows (spritzed with pillow spray). Light a scented candle, go for warm low-level lighting in your bedside lamps, and put a radio in there on low, for a five star hotel experience.

Create a cosy bedroom for your guests
Image credit: Dunelm

Use a drinks trolley

When you’re Christmas hosting you’ll have your hands full, so to save you running back and forth to the kitchen, grab a drinks trolley, fully stock it and let your guests help themselves. An iteration of the Victorian tea trolley, the drinks trolley peaked in popularity in the 1950s and was seen in every restaurant, home and office.

Back in vogue, they make the perfect focal point for your Christmas decor. Think about what you want to serve: if it’s cocktails, elevate your glassware and add plenty of garnishes, a shaker and an ice bucket and tongs. Decorate with festive foliage and Christmas nibbles. A handwritten cocktail menu is a great touch.

Add a drinks trolley to your festive hosting
Image credit: Rose & Grey

Invest in a smart coatrack

We’ve all been there – your guests arrive bundled in huge winter coats and knitwear, they get piled up by the door, and end up sliding onto the floor in a messy heap. A riff on the iconic Eames coat rack, this sturdy SPACE Copenhagen SC77, Capture coat stand from Nest is cast from powder-coated aluminium with spherical wooden hooks. With three tiers of hooks, it can fit a lot of coats and when it’s empty it adds a sculptural statement to your hallway.

Keep your house tidy with a smart coat rack
Image credit: Nest.co.uk

Go for ‘Glitzmas’

The unequivocal theme for Christmas 2023 is glitz and glitter, with Homesense coining the phrase ‘glitzmas’. If you’re in the mood for fun and frivolity, a glitter ball is key. Everywhere from Dunelm to Rockett. St George has them on offer.

Paper chains are back from the eighties, this time in shiny, bold colours, like a Quality Street wrapper. There’s lashings of gold and if you want to create a Christmas disco, try one of Amazon’s easy-to-use disco lightbulbs. Just switch it with your regular lightbulb and dance the night away.

Add a glizty glitterball for a disco Christmas
Image credit: Homesense

Cook single dish meals

For stress-free Christmas hosting, cooking single dish meals will save time, effort and most importantly washing up. Evoke the Swiss Alps and bring the retro fondue to your festive gathering.

Coming from the French verb ‘fondre’, which means to melt, it doesn’t get much better than sitting around a rich pot of molten cheese (commonly gruy√®re, emmental and raclette). Dexam’s Chasseur cast iron fondue sets are made with 40% recycled materials and are hand-forged in the Champagne Ardennes region of France. Put them in the centre of the table with a fondue burner, torn off chunks of crusty bread, boiled potatoes, cured meats and a fresh green salad.

A cheese fondue will be a hit with your guests
Image credit: Dexam

Set up a kids table

If the kids are catered for this Christmas, then the adults will be happy. Keep them entertained with their own festive table full of things to eat and things to do. There are a ton of ideas for festive activities for young minds from icing a gingerbread house or edible decorations for the tree, to stringing a popcorn garland to playing Christmas bingo. Failing that, get them to create their own nativity, or gather round for a Christmas film. Always a winner.

Set up a kids table for your Christmas hosting
Image credit: B&M

Create a warm welcome

When it comes to decorating, you can get carried away with your interiors and forget about your exteriors. But creating a warm welcome is the perfect first impression for your guests when you’re Christmas hosting.

Lights4fun come into their own at Christmas, with every type of outdoor light you could imagine. Keep it chic with soft, white stars, twinkly fairy lights dotted in a plain, foliage wreath and battery-operated light-up lanterns. If you really want to go to town, they also have a full range of outdoor light-up reindeer and multi-coloured smart app controlled icicle lights.

Create a cosy welcome for your guests
Image credit: Lights4fun

Make your hot chocolate in a slow cooker

Slow-cooker hot chocolate is a firm crowd pleaser and the ideal way to keep your guests happy this Christmas. This truly rich and decadent recipe from BBC Food has dark chocolate, milk chocolate, double cream and scorched marshmallows. For a boozy update, you could add Baileys, rum or amaretto to your mug.

Put your hot chocolate in  a slow cooker
Image credit: Enamel Happy Ltd

Upgrade your sofa bed

For many of us, the guest room has been turned into an office or a storage room, and are not functioning spaces for guests to stay. Thankfully, sofa beds have had an upgrade in recent years and are no longer the lumpy, bumpy contraptions they once were.

Loaf have an full range of invitingly named sofa beds, like Squishmeister and Pillow nap, which come in everything from the modular corner sofa to the love seat. They pack down flat for easy access and each has a super-comfy pocket sprung mattress inside with a 100% duck feather back cushion.

Upgrade your sofa bed for your guests
Image credit: Loaf

Utilise your outdoor space

If you’re Christmas hosting for many over the festive period it can feel overwhelming, so utilising your outside space is a good way for everyone to get out and get some fresh air. Of course, it’s the depths of winter and freezing cold, so set up a firepit to huddle around.

Firepits UK have been handcrafting their firepits in rural Wales since 2008 from British steel. Add in a warming arm or hot plate and you can keep your mince pies toasty warm and serve them with brandy butter.

Use your outside space and warm mince pies on a firepit
Image credit: Firepits UK