Wow your guests from the moment they walk in with a few of our handy hints below. From music to games and decorations, there is so much to consider on Christmas Day. Start planning and preparing now to make sure everyone remembers Christmas at your house as the best one yet.
Music is important to set the mood: choose wisely! Cheery Christmas jingles may drive everyone crazy after hearing it time and time again in the months of lead up, and then listening to it on repeat all day. A good way to enjoy the jingles without going mad is to mix it up with some pop music too. Be sure to create family friendly playlist first before throwing your iPod on shuffle; nobody wants to hear that accidental bump ‘n’ grind music you’ve got hiding in the deep dark depths of your gym playlist, and you won’t want to be hit over the head by Nanna for it either.
Choose your setting: indoors, outdoors, a bit of both, garden party, patio, balcony, down by the pool area or out at a venue. If it’s really hot, keep it inside to avoid the flies, sunburn, dehydration and more. It’s also a good idea to consider which floor you’d rather have underneath your table for when those accidental spills happen.
Set the scene with decorations: make it festive! Put everyone in the Christmas spirit with some adorable additions to your normal decor. A good way to start is by choosing a theme of modern or classical, or a colour scheme like silver and blue, red and gold or green and red. Leave Christmas crackers and party poppers at each setting on the table waiting for someone to kick off the first crack. For maximum effect, explode the poppers when everyone is least expecting it.
Edible decorations: think more than just a gingerbread house. See our article on edible gifts for ideas.
Help your guests: important for larger gatherings. If it is a huge event, leave markers on the table for people to write their name on a plastic cup, or decorate wine glass stems with decorations. If guests will be sitting across from each other, try not to put anything too high in the middle of the table as it will obstruct eye contact and make conversation hard.
Make water easily accessible: this is something often forgotten! Grab some jugs and add a few slices of orange, lemon and lime or mint leaves into the mix and leave the jugs at various points on the table. This means guests don’t have to walk in and out of the kitchen to fill up a glass, and it leaves more room for food preparation.
Wipe down the barbecue: don’t be afraid to fire it up on Christmas day, especially if you know other dishes will be popped in and out of the oven all morning for last minute baking, and warming up the dishes of guests. The barbecue can also be used to keep dishes warm before serving.
Plan how to keep drinks cold: more often than not, the fridge will be jam packed and there’s no room for anything else guests have cooked, let alone keeping drinks cold. Prepare in advance to cool drinks somewhere other than the fridge at easy points for guests to access. You may need something larger than an ice bucket, so open the esky or opt for a colourful tub from your nearest discount store and fill it with ice just before guests arrive.
Plan a few family fun games: this keeps the crowd going. Plan ahead for Stealing Santa or head outside for backyard cricket, touch rugby and games the whole street can join in to help mix up the day. It also means those feeling a little full can walk around to help lunch digest, and the kids can wear off some excitement and energy. If you are lucky to live near the beach, then go for a stroll while those too full to move take a nap.
Keep the entertainment rolling: organise a game of pin the hat on the Father Christmas for younger kids and if still together by evening, go for a walk around the neighbourhood together to see the Christmas lights while they’re still shining.
For those wishing to leave the work to the professionals, be sure to check out our Christmas Day What’s On Guide for venues near you.