Christmas is a time to eat, drink and be merry with the people you love most.
So, if you're thinking of throwing a Christmas party this December, you're probably looking to spend as much time with your friends as family as you can, and less time spent worrying over the details.
Check out our top tips and tricks below so you can spend less time stressing and more time rockin' around the Christmas tree this party season.
Planning a party is great: you've got to make your festive playlist, draft up an invite list of all your nearest and dearest, and think about fun and festive ways to deck your halls (literally!) But before you can start thinking about popping the Prosecco and cracking out some Christmas bangers, planning ahead and party-proofing your house will be key to making sure you can relax and enjoy the party once it starts.
As the host, you'll be the first port of call if there are any spillages or breakages. Make sure you're ready for worst case scenarios with a stash of kitchen roll in each room, and a dustpan and brush readily available too. That way, when the inevitable first spillage happens, you can throw the culprit a roll of kitchen towel without letting it ruin your vibe or throw you into 'cleaning mode'.
Cut down clean up
While throwing a party is great, once the guests leave at the end of the evening you're often left with the mammoth task of the clean up, which isn't anywhere near as fun… Keep mess to a minimum with some savvy buys to save you from spending hours clearing up afterwards. Disposable cups for drinks will save you from inevitably running out of glassware (and also avoid potential breakages), while paper plates and napkins for food will save you from having to wash up everyone's plates, too.
Set up some bins around the house before the party so people can dispose of their own plates and old cups once they're done and you'll reduce your clean up even further!
Pick a stress-free menu
Whether you're whipping up a full menu or opting for a buffet or canapés, you want to be offering party food that won't cause you stress once your guests start arriving.
If you want to offer your guests a proper meal, a hearty chilli or curry is a brilliant one-pot-wonder you can make ahead of time and then heat up when your guests arrive, leaving everyone to help themselves.
If you fancy going for a more mix-and-match approach, a selection of hot appetisers and party nibbles make a great option that guests can keep coming back to, and also mean you can easily cater for everyone.
Classic crowdpleasers like onion rings, sausage rolls, smoked salmon blinis and mini burgers will always go down a treat. Classic Asian flavours are also a winner: tempura king prawns, duck wontons, vegetable gyoza and chicken laksa filo roses are all packed with flavour and great served with sweet chilli sauce for dipping.
Keep the oven on and you can pop back and forth into the kitchen to load another tray of nibbles in or take them out, so you don't have to spend the whole party over the stove. What's more, all of our frozen party food and canapés cook at the same oven temperature, meaning you can bung it all in together without having to worry about overdoing the onion rings!
Make it festive
Give your party the festive-factor with fun twists and quirks. You could give your party a sparkle, tinsel or Santa's grotto theme and ask everyone to wear their blingiest glad rags, or consider some of our surprisingly easy festive cocktails for your drinks menu.
You could also create a gorgeous, festive centrepiece for your spread that will have everyone talking. Our stunning chocolate and coconut truffle igloo cake is rich and decadent, perfect for parties. It's also super easy to make - in fact, it doesn’t even involve turning the oven on! Find the recipe here.