7 Top tips for the perfect Christmas party

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7 Top tips for the perfect Christmas party

1. Many hands make light work
Feeling festive conjures up childhood memories for most of us. I love the camaraderie of a party and sense of family that’s celebrated at Christmas time. Part of this joy starts with preparing for Christmas as a family and we always get everyone involved; setting the table, choosing the wine, selecting some festive music and prepping the vegetables together on Christmas Eve.

2. Think creatively with table decorations
Food is often the centre of attention, but it’s important to have considered the other components in creating the right atmosphere for a Christmas party. Candles are beautiful, I like to use lots of them and create a soft, cosy atmosphere. Keep any table flowers simple and low, so as not to obstruct eye contact or use some lovely potted herbs as table decorations that can double as a gift for your guests on departure.

3. Get mulling like mad
I normally have a batch of mulled wine on the go from the end of November! Fill your home with all those wonderful smells before guests enter. I’d suggest leaving your saucepan of mulled wine on the stove 30 minutes before you expect your guests to arrive, which is plenty of time to let the festive spices fill the home. You can also prepare small parcels of cinnamon, cloves and dried citrus fruits in muslin, place these on radiators to bring extra festive aromas into your home.

4. Barbeque your meat
Particularly on Christmas Day, none of us can get our ovens to reach the temperatures we need. If you’ve got a gas barbeque with a lid in the back garden, make use of it this Christmas. You’ll get it up to the temperature you need and free up valuable oven space to finish off the roast potatoes and other bits going through the oven.

5. Save the brandy to serve with coffee
Try using vodka on your Christmas pudding this year – it will light much easier than brandy and give you a more impressive flame.

6. Chocolate truffles – the perfect finishing touch
Forget the After Eights this year and make your own handmade chocolate truffles to serve with coffee. They can be made in advance and popped in the freezer until you need them. We used a good chocolate (70% single origin) and add to warm cream; you can add flavour using your favourite tipple too. Once cooled, you can roll these by hand and then dust with cocoa and pop them into the freezer until 30 minutes before needed.

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