Christmas Parties

Follow our top tips to enjoy the perfect Christmas party this year

By LILY HESS

Winter is on its way and that means one thing – Christmas! And what better way to harness the Christmas spirit than to hold a Christmas party to remember.

The South London Press has put together these top tips to celebrate the season in the best way possible.

  • Don’t hold the party too close to Christmas Day. Many people leave town for the holidays.
  • A Christmas tree is essential as the centrepiece of the festive party-space. Fake trees are generally cheaper than real trees, but be aware of the different types of evergreens if you go for a real one. Firs are slightly more expensive because they shed fewer needles. Also keep in mind the height of the party room when selecting a tree.
  • There are a variety of Christmas lights to decorate the tree. The traditional incandescent lights heat the needles and emit a pine scent in the room, whereas LED lights don’t emit heat but are more fire-proof.
  • Wrap the lights from the base of the tree around the branches to the tip and back down.
  • Drape the tree in several different types of garland to give it variety, starting from the tip down.
  • Hang your favourite ornaments first to display them in prime positions. Hang the large ornaments before the medium and small ones.
  • Make sure the tree looks balanced: Place some ornaments closer to the trunk for depth, and don’t bunch too many in one area. If the trunk is noticeable and looks a bit bare, feel free to add some “presents” there by wrapping boxes in Christmas-themed wrapping paper.
  • Garlands are versatile and can be placed almost anywhere as decoration. Hang a few along the railing of your stairwell, over door frames, over fireplace mantles, or even to border the snack table. Red poinsettias are a lovely flower to place on flat surfaces and corners. Wreaths come in a range of styles and are great to place on doors or on walls over decorated tables.
  • Christmas lights are also useful for giving rooms a sparkling glow – experiment with hanging them from the edges of the ceiling, around mirrors, or wrapping them around the stairwell. Keep the room lights themselves dim in order to allow the Christmas lights to shine.
  • Candles give a natural, gentle glow and scent the air in Christmas cheer. From spiced fruits to baked goods to pine scents and “fireplace”,  there are an infinite number of combinations of holiday-themed scents to choose from. However, be aware of flammable objects and decorations around the candles.
  • There is no party if there is no food. Unless your guests will be eating dinner at the party, it is best to keep to snacks and finger food.
  • Try to balance the savoury and sweet selection. Christmas cookies are classic and can be decorated in any way imaginable.
  • Gingerbread men and frosted sugar cookies are traditional mainstays, but you can also branch into anything someone can eat with their fingers like biscotti or caramel popcorn.
  • For the savoury side, crackers can be topped with a variety of cheeses, smoked meat, and vegetable dips. Baked hot dog bits wrapped in bacon, olives, and spiced nuts are also tasty and easy to eat. Snack food can feel quite heavy over time, so some fruit would also be a great addition to the table. For the adults, mulled wine, eggnog, and spiced punch are classic drinks to have at a Christmas party.
  • You may want to hold a gifts exchange for your guests. Secret Santa and White Elephant are popular games for Christmas parties.
  • If there are children, it is also a good idea to hold a few kids’ activities. Children will love decorating plain Christmas cookies with frosting, guessing what is in a stocking in the Mystery Stocking game, or even simply playing board games.
  • The last step to an amazing Christmas party is to be dressed for one. A bold Christmas sweater not only keeps the wearer warm, but tells everyone that you are in the festive spirit. A lighter sweater or vest may be a better idea if you are likely to be indoors throughout the party. Quality of material can vary across the range of Christmas sweaters. Some are rather funny, but if you know there will be children at the party try to stay away from inappropriate ones. Truly authentic ugly Christmas sweaters are rarely made any more, so shops that sell clothing from the 1980s or 90s may be the best chance of finding one.