Less stress Christmas entertaining tip 1: smaller is less stressful
People always say that a small, more intimate gathering is nicer because you can mix with your guests far easier and not feel like you’re missing out; however, the truth is that these small, more intimate gatherings are far less stressful to get up and running.
Just think about it for a moment; there are less people to invite, less food and actual entertainment to arrange, and there should be less preparation required, and far less cleaning up to be done when everyone has gone home.
Less stress Christmas entertaining tip 2: simplify the menu
Do you really need a selection of ten to twelve little ‘nibbles’ dishes before serving your starters? Would anyone really notice if you reduced the number, or even got rid of them completely?
In most cases you can get away with just having a small starter, a light main, and an overly compensating dessert, or am I the only one who’s really into their desserts?
If you overdo it then you have more organising to do, you often end up with food left over, and, your guests feel that they have to serve at least as much, if not more, when it’s their turn to have everyone over – by the time it’s your turn again you’re hosting a small banquet.
Less stress Christmas entertaining tip 3: don’t be surprised if there are cancellations
It’s disappointing when people can’t make it to your get-together, but these things happen, so don’t stress unnecessarily about it.
We live in times when it’s difficult to know what we’ll be doing from one day to the next, work and other commitments can play havoc with our social engagements, and even having it written down in a diary isn’t always going to be enough.
One way around this could be to invite one or two extra people to make up for the inevitable drop outs, but, you could end up with all of your invited guests arriving, so you may not have enough food, but that just gives you a chance to see how creative you can be with what you’ve got – or at least have the local takeaway on speed-dial.
Less stress Christmas entertaining tip 4: the coffee morning
This is something that you can do at anytime of the year, but if you have a few people that you only see over the Christmas holidays, then this could be a good option for you.
The coffee morning is a far more casual event, it’s usually during the day (as the name implies) so it can be a far more flexible gathering, and they generally won’t last for more than an hour or two.
Throw in the fact that you don’t have to create elaborate meals and you have far less stress to deal with, too.
Less stress Christmas entertaining tip 5: just have fun
People seem to forget that the whole idea behind doing this is to have some fun, enjoy yourself, and see people that you may not have seen for some time, you’re not doing this as some sort of Victorian high society gathering that will make or break your social standing.
Things may happen that are out of your control, you can’t plan for that, so don’t try to. Be relaxed and your guests will start to feel relaxed too. If your guests are relaxed then things will start to flow smoothly, and if they don’t, and something happens, then they’re going to be far more forgiving if they’re already having a good time anyway.
There we have it; five steps to stress free Christmas entertaining.
Have smaller groups of people, simplify the menu and allow for cancellations. If the thought of having to organise meals for people doesn’t appeal, then think about throwing an informal coffee morning. Most of all, relax, join in the conversations, don’t spend all of your time in the kitchen getting things ready, and things should go well.
So now’s the time to start planning your more relaxed Christmas entertaining.
For more on Christmas past and presents take a look at Santa’s Christmas Grotto