Throwing a Christmas shindig that your guests will never forget requires a variety of ingredients – from the nibbles and tipples to all the bells and whistles, perfect planning is ultimately the one key component for a memorable and merry Christmas cracker.
With the big day now less than two months away, we’ve assembled a quick and easy checklist to help guide you through the Christmas party planning period – ensure you’ve got all these bases covered and your festive gathering will fill your guests with both Christmas cheer and one or two glasses of Champagne!
Whether it be a selection of delicious canapés or a full blown three-course feast with all the trimmings, providing both the right type of food and right amount of food is essential. Christmas food should be indulgent, it should be celebrational and it should be delicious…from Christmas classics to luxury ingredients and the obligatory Yuletide sweet treats, it should not only be the turkey that is suitably stuffed on the big day!
Food can be a fantastic talking point and in one fail swoop, can both excite the senses and create a sense of occasion – get your menu correct and you’re on to a winner.
No Christmas party is complete without a selection of tasty tipples to tantalize your guests’ taste buds. There is no more celebratory a drink than a cold, crisp glass of the finest bubbles and for many, no Christmas party should even be allowed without Champagne or at minimum, a fresh Champagne cocktail such as a Mimosa or Buck’s Club.
The provision of a selection of beers and wines is essential, as well as the mandatory egg nog, but with temperatures plummeting in December, why not send your guests home with a boozy hot beverage such as Christmas spiced mulled wine or Glühwein or perhaps a Scottish hot toddy?
As much as we encourage you to let your hair down, we do advocate drinking responsibly, so it is also important to provide water, soft drinks and perhaps a merry mocktail or two for those who may be designated drivers.
The heartbeat of any good Christmas party lies in perfectly timing the entertainment on offer. Without entertainment, the interest of your guests will disappear faster than Santa’s sleigh so here’s a few elements to consider.
From roving live musicians to full on-stage bands and DJ’s spinning turntables, music plays a key role in any memorable party. Music adds to the ambience and atmosphere of the venue and help sets the mood.
It wouldn’t be Christmas either without one or two tunes to show off your dance moves! Once a little alcohol has been applied and the party is in full swing, you can guarantee your guests will want to boogie, so picking the right music is key. Whether you choose Christmas classics, anthems of yesteryear or crooners like Sinatra or Bublé -pick music that suits your audience and the vibe of the event.
We all remember the traditional game of Monopoly at Christmas and whilst board games may not be suitable for your event, games such as raffles or the stand-up/sit down game are a fantastic way to inject both fun and a little competition into proceedings.
Make sure you have a selection of quality prizes guests will not forget – the more impressive, the more likely they will be to get involved and the more guests taking part will only add to the success of your event.
Whether hosting the event yourself or employing a compère, the host plays an extremely important role at any event. Often acting as the conduit between organisers and guests, the host helps set the tone and will add to the mood of the event.
The host will also ensure the timing of the party remains on schedule and help relay any messages to guests such as when dinner is imminent or when the bar might be closing.
Choose a host that will appeal to your audience, keep the atmosphere convivial and light-hearted and your event will shine brighter than the star at the top of the tree.
Picking the right décor is essential for any Christmas party – from use of colour to different textures and a litany of lighting options, our advice would be to pick your theme and run with it! Guests want to feel festive and feel like they’re in an environment which celebrates the season so – deliver this and you will have a memorable event.
Whether you choose to create a Santa’s grotto feel or an Alpine après ski environment, decorate your event accordingly and don’t be afraid to try something your guests might not have seen before – if it remains in keeping with the style of your event, you can add some serious wow factor through innovative décor.
Embrace the finer details, put the experience first and you’ll be the don of Christmas décor in no time.
How guests dress should ultimately tie in with the theme of your Christmas party and the atmosphere you want to create. Christmas parties however should be about dressing up, donning the glad rags, and enjoying the occasion whilst togging up in your finest threads.
You want guests to feel good, you want them to feel like their fellow partygoers are also dressed to impress and you want to give people an opportunity to show off their personal style.
Be clear with the dress code, make sure it appeals to your audience and everyone will arrive ready to soak up the Christmas spirit.
It just wouldn’t be the season of goodwill to all men without the giving of gifts! Christmas is all about the presents so make sure you give your guests something memorable to take home. Memorable doesn’t necessarily mean expensive either – being thoughtful or personal can also go a long way too.
Try to think of gifts your guests will use day to day, perhaps keep on their desk or in their car or something funny that will raise a smile and remind them of the brilliant time they had whenever they see it.
No matter what you choose to give, a little offering from Father Christmas himself will go a long way to yours being the party everyone remembers.
Aside from the fun and revelry, we should not forget that this time of year is quite difficult for a lot of people and the charities that support them. Whether it be caring for the homeless, elderly or alone, providing presents for impoverished children or even a Christmas dinner for those who don’t have the means themselves, donating to charity provides funds for some very worthwhile causes.
We defy anyone not to feel uplifted after donating to charity, especially at Christmas, and we would encourage you to choose your cause and raise some money!
Last but by no means least is planning – we all know the old military ‘7p’s’ adage but genuinely if you don’t plan your party properly, plan to fail!
Make use of time sheets and be meticulous with the detail – allow plenty time to organise all the elements you require, check timings with any suppliers and entertainment and adhere strictly to your pre-arranged run sheet.
Checklists will be your best friend to ensure you have all bases covered and then when the day of your party arrives, sit back, and enjoy a glass of Champagne as the event runs like clockwork!
In summary, a combination of the above elements will ensure you deliver a Christmas party that lives long in the memory of all that attend. No matter whether it’s a 10-person intimate dinner at home or a banquet for 500, stick to this guide and you won’t go far wrong!