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How to host a stress-free Christmas dinner

November 20, 2019

Hosting Christmas dinner can be a daunting task, however we’ve got some top tips to help you be the hostess with the mostess.

dunelm dining scheme copy - How to host a stress-free Christmas dinner- inspiration -

Image: Dunelm

If it’s your turn to host Christmas dinner this year and you’ve got the troops coming, Dunelm has collaborated with modern etiquette expert Jo Bryant to put together some top hosting tips ahead of the big day.

This is combined with some new research by Dunelm which reveals that the perfect host may cheat in the kitchen but always serve up beautifully presented plates – perfect for the gram! Keeping toys hidden away and using interior décor as a talking point are also traits of a good host.

If you’re still undecided where to source your Christmas grub from, take a look at our breakdown of the best supermarket Christmas deals.

Menu plan carefully

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Image: M&S

Before you get caught up in ambitious ideas with a long list of hard-to-find ingredients, choose a menu that you know you can execute well and won’t cause too much stress.

Make sure you don’t get stuck in the kitchen whilst your guests entertain themselves by keeping the menu simple and prepping as much as possible in advance.

Seat people sensibly

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Image: HomeSense

Christmas can be tricky if you haven’t got a large dining table. If you have more guests that usually fit around your table and you need to join different tables together, use your table decor to help blend them together.

Consider the seating plan carefully. If it’s a large group, mix old friends with new and quiter guests with louder guests to mix things up. Using place cards will help make this easier to navigate and add a sense of occasion to Christmas dinner.

Say yes to contributions

say yes to contributions - How to host a stress-free Christmas dinner -

Image: Monika Grabkowsk

If you’re hosting lots of people, it’s a good idea to ask people to bring something along to contribute. Good friends should offer – so make sure you say yes!

Suggest they bring simple, easily transportable items such as contributions to the cheese board, some nibbles of even a homemade pudding.

Add decorative touches

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Image: Dunelm

Don’t underestimate the difference a few key decorative touches will make. Think about using special tableware and glassware going the extra mile with charger plates, pops of colour through florals and crockery or handwritten place cards to make Christmas truly Instagram-worthy.

If you’re not naturally creative, you can always ask your friends and family to help out. I’m sure they’ll be willing if you’re hosting the big day.

Create an ambience

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Image: Mariah Ashby

It’s important to create a gorgeous festive ambience throughout the day. Some simple tweaks to lighting, such as a warm glow from fairy lights, tea lights and softer lighting create a cosy relaxed atmosphere

Make a family Christmas playlist! It will help your guests relax and truly get into the Christmas spirit. If you don’t trust your own musical taste, there’s plenty of pre-selected playlists.

Don’t forget that your presence is a massive part of creating the right ambience, so forget your phone and try and not spend all day in the kitchen.

Keep it flowing

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Image: Dunelm

It may sound obvious, but offering guests a drink as soon as they arrive is the easiest way to get the day off to a good start. Pop a few bottles on the table so people can help themselves, which automatically makes people feel more relaxed.

Don’t forget about the non-drinkers and drivers – offer them a few thoughtful options such as a Christmas-themed mcoktail or a fresh juice in a beautiful glass.


Are you hosting Christmas dinnner this year? Tweet us @goodhomesmag or post a comment on our Facebook page, or post a picture of your festive home on Instagram using the hashtag #ThisGoodHome for your chance to be featured on our Instagram.


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