Invitations: For an informal seasonal shindig – just write the party details of time, date, where and RSVP in your normal Christmas cards. You’ll just have to get them out a little earlier. Alternatively, send some jolly invitations like the Christmas Baubles invitations or the sweet Penguin Party invitations to get people in the party spirit. If you’re having a smaller do you could send each of your guests a Christmas tree decoration and tie a label with the party details to it. Soft fabric decorations such as the Funky Star Christmas Tree decorations would be easy to pop in the post. Avoid fragile baubles though!
Decorations: “Deck the halls with boughs of holly, Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la.” Welcome your guests out of the cold and into a cosy Christmas home complete with festive decorations. A pretty wreath or some foil silver star balloons on the door would set the right tone. Hang some mistletoe above the door too to meet and greet your guests with a giggle. Children will love running into the party room through the Santa’s Beard door decoration. Silver, gold, green and red are the obvious Christmas colours so you could choose any decorations in those colours.
Don’t forget to use what you already have so switch on your Green Christmas Tree lights, turn up the carols and put the Christmas cards you’ve been sent on display too. The santa and snowman ribbon garland and snowflake string decoration will add some lovely finishing touches. Less subtle but with serious wonderland wow factor is the 3ft Santa balloon or a fun scene setter like the Santa and his reindeer to transform your room.
Decorate your buffet table or dining table with a green and red holly centerpiece, red and gold table gems and Merry Christmas table confetti.
Eat, Drink and Be Merry: Food is a big part of the festive period and definitely a time to indulge naughtily. There are lots of treats that adults and children alike will tuck into such as honey and mustard sausages, smoked salmon and cream cheese open sandwiches, marinated chicken drumsticks and cheese straws. Mini jacket potatoes (using new potatoes) can either have a crème fraiche and caviar topping for adults or a cheese topping for the children. Nigella Lawson’s quesadillas go down a treat with all ages and you can prepare them earlier in the day for minimum stress.
Bowls of Celebrations and sweets around the room should keep those with a sweet tooth happy. If you are having a sit down meal a chocolate roulade is popular with all. Plus you can make the chocolate part of it in advance and freeze till you need it.
Mulled wine on arrival will warm up your guests and children won’t feel left out if you serve either Mulled Apple Juice or some hot chocolate. Bowls of punch with a non alcoholic version too should keep everyone satisfied.
Resolve to play a couple of children’s games – check out our Top Ten Christmas Games. Why not fill a Snowman or Christmas tree piñata with little Christmas goodies for an exciting activity too? Fingers crossed that after a few games the children will run off and entertain themselves. For smaller children a showing of Polar Express might give parents some uninterrupted party time.
It is hard to find games for all ages but these three should do the trick:
Ice Breaking Name Game: As your guests arrive stick a name or character on their back such as Mrs Claus, Father Christmas, Rudolf, Elf, Frosty the Snowman. The guests then need to ask each other questions with yes or no answers to find out who they are.
Christmas Charades: Divide into two equal teams. Come up with ten or so child friendly Christmas films, songs, theatre shows, and carols such as Silent Night, The Night Before Christmas, The Grinch who Stole Christmas and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer to give to the other team. Act out the title you are given for your own team to guess. Remember no talking when you’re acting! Look out for a Charades for Kids just in case.
After Eight Game: You’ll need a box of Aftereights for this silly after supper game. Take in turns. The person whose go it is has to tilt their head back and put an unwrapped Aftereight on their forehead. They then have to try and get it into their mouths without using any hands. Make sure you have your cameras to hand for some funny photos.
Bags: For younger guests send them home happy with an early Christmas Snowman Treat Bag. A pre filled Christmas party bag, a chocolate santa or a Christmas Activity Pack are all great options for keeping that festive feeling going.
By Laura Pullman