Christmas is an exciting time of the year when it comes to spending time with family and friends. Between the decorating, delicious treats, holiday parties and fun children’s festivities, there is undoubtedly a lot to look forward to. However, all of these events can also lead to a lot of Christmas stress. It’s not uncommon to find one’s self overwhelmed in the midst of so much holiday cheer.
This stress can become particularly heightened if you’ve been chosen to host Christmas dinner. Whether you’ve done it countless times before, or it’s your very first attempt at such a culinary adventure, Christmas dinner is a task that takes a lot of planning and patience in order to be successful. To help keep your Christmas joyful and your stress level low, the following are five tips for hosting a spectacular Christmas dinner this year and keeping spirits bright along the way.
Let no space go unused in the name of Christmas dinner
It’s easy to get caught up in the idea that a traditional Christmas dinner must happen exclusively in the dining room. Fortunately for the host or hostess, this just isn’t the case. When it comes to preparing to host a Christmas dinner whether it be large or small, make sure to give yourself the freedom to utilize all the space you have. This will keep guests from feeling crowded and give more options to socialize and be comfortable in the home. When guests feel free to move around, tension is less likely to be a factor at your gathering.
Extend your dining experience throughout the dining room and even into the kitchen. If you have a kitchen island, this makes the perfect area for extra eating and socializing space. It’s close enough to the dining room that it allows for conversation to flow, yet can still be used as a snacking area before or after dinner as well. If you have granite countertops—even better! These durable surfaces will be able to handle the wear of guests, plates and Christmas décor without a hitch.
Take each guest into careful consideration
In the name of a peaceful family experience, make sure you plan for your Christmas dinner far enough ahead to have time to consider your guests. Family is a gift, but some amount of family adversity is usually expected. In order to keep the atmosphere light and guests happy, make sure you have asked your guests and family for culinary preferences based on dietary restrictions or allergies. Having specialized dishes on hand will avoid any unexpected food-based disasters. Similarly, if you know certain guests don’t mesh well, take it upon yourself to create a seating arrangement for the actual dinner. Creating cute or clever name cards at each spot will make it more of a creative touch and less of an obvious attempt to maintain a friendly atmosphere.
Give the kids a little space of their own!
If you’re going to have kids at your Christmas dinner, it’s important to create a small space for them to play, eat and feel independent so adult guests have a chance to spend time together as well. In this scenario, a granite kitchen island could be the perfect solution. Use fake wrapped presents or candles wrapped in candy canes as fun centerpieces and let them get messy! They’ll love the festive additions and your granite countertops will be the perfect barrier between the floor and food that finds its way off a child’s plate.
Have festive drinks on hand and ready to go
No Christmas dinner is complete without a festive drink to toast with. If you’re hosting a dinner with primarily adults, a Champagne spritzer with a peppermint garnish is a fun and delicious drink to toast the holiday season. If children abound, make sure to have some hot chocolate ready to go and provide other yummy options such as non-alcoholic eggnog or sparkling grape juice. Festive drinks have a way of bringing guests together and give you plenty of reasons to toast to the good things in life.
Seal it up with a sweet treat
Hosting a Christmas dinner is definitely a project with a focus on the main course being served, but that doesn’t mean dessert isn’t just as important. This year, give your guests a fun activity in the form of a candy station to pass by at the end of your event. Create a small place in your kitchen where guests can dip pretzels, candy canes or other sweet, holiday favorites into melted chocolate and even sprinkles. It’s a fun activity that also gives your family and friends the opportunity to decide on their own dessert choices. Your guests will think it’s both a creative and delicious finale to what was a completely successful Christmas dinner!