How To Host a Perfect Traditional Christmas
Christmas To-Do List
Have you been listening to Bing Crosby and Michael Bublé for weeks already? Watched Elf several times and found a Christmas jumper for pooch that matches your own?
As the song goes, Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year.
But, with parties for hosting and marshmallows for roasting, making Christmas the hap-happiest season of all does put a bit of pressure on Christmas elves doing the hosting.
Here’s Lakelovers tips for festive hosts and a perfect traditional Christmas in the Lakes.
If it’s Christmas cottages in the Lake District that you’re looking for, we have family-friendly accommodation as well as dog-friendly holiday homes with Christmas availability. If you’d like to chat through your Christmas wish-list, please speak to our lovely Customer Service team on or email [email protected]
There’s also up to 20% off our Christmas Special offers, offering a very tempting collection that you may just not be able to resist.
Dress To Impress
Have you spent the last few months perfecting your traditional Christmas Decor board on Pinterest?
Over December the Lake District hedges, woodlands and cottage gardens are a wealth of Christmas foraging delights. If you’re staying home this Christmas, head into your local park or green space and you’re sure to pick up some traditional Christmas delights to decorate your home.
On your woodland or forest dog walk, fill pockets with pine, larch and fir cones as an ideal way of bringing a traditional Christmas aroma inside. And evergreens such as conifers, variegated holly, laurel, fatsia and yew are perfect for creating impressive Christmas sprays.
Before you start, clear away as many ornaments and home accessories as you can to leave space for plenty of Christmas eye-candy.
Laurel for success and victory
Ivy to protect from lightening and originally used outside only
Fir and yew evergreens signifying everlasting life
Rosmary as a remembrance herb
Top Tip – pick foliage without berries on as these will likely drop once brought inside. Buy fake red berries to add long-lasting colour to your Christmas wreaths and garlands.
Garden herbs like sage and rosemary give Christmas table centrepieces a beautiful, natural Christmas aroma. Cover oasis foam and potted hyacinth plants with foriaged moss, adding in some berries and ribbon for colour.
Crab apples, rosehips and hawthorn berries are a great way of bringing traditional red to your ornamental displays.
Impress guests with personalised napkins, crackers or place settings. Activities such as colour-in table mats on the table are handy for keeping younger guests occupied for a 4-course meal. Peel The Sprout is a fuss-free table game, occupying guests as they pass the sprout around unwrapping the layers to reveal jokes and treats, whilst taking the pressure off the host in the kitchen. Charades and Christmas Trivia games are great time-fillers too, and these can found online or personalised versions made in advance.
If this flurry of festive activity makes you feel anxious, perhaps you’d be interested in our alternative Christmas – 12 Well-Being Days of Christmas, where we invite festive holidaymakers to embrace a digital diet and the Joy of Missing Out (#JOMO).
Once guests have been wowed with your decor, next up is getting into the festive spirit with food and drink.
Make a good first impression with a glass of sparkles for guests upon arrival and perhaps a candle to light and add to a centrepiece.
For many, Christmas dinner is the highlight of the festive season but for the Christmas chef trying to ‘keep calm and carry on’ is all the more difficult with this added pressure.
From Mary Berry to our own Lake District chef’s, like Mark Harris, the key to enjoying Christmas dinner is all in the preparation. Here are some tips:
- Making sure your bird, goose or turkey, fits in the oven goes in advance without saying. Ensuring you have enough chilling space for drinks as well as food is also a must. This is especially important for cooking Christmas dinner in a self-catering cottage. Setting the table for all courses on Christmas eve means the problem of running out of cutlery on the big day will be avoided too.
- Half roast potatoes and parsnips the day before. Pigs in blankets, chestnut stuffing, sauces, such as gravy and bread sauce, can also be prepped the day before.
- Opt for cold starters, such as traditional salmon or gravadlax, that can be plated up and popped in the fridge first thing in the morning or even the night before.
- If, after all of this you’ve forgotten about chilling the champagne, Mark Harris recommends wrapping it in a damp tea towel and putting it in into the freezer. Another top tip from the Lake District chef is to put plates in the dishwasher on a warm wash to heat them up if you don’t have the oven space or a microwave.
- Operate a serve yourself bar to save another job. A second drinks-only fridge is ideal, but a 40L storage bucket filled with ice or storing drinks outside to chill are perfect alternatives. Perhaps include a child-friendly drinks bar, and a second recycling bin for empties to make clearing up easier.
- For on the dining table, opt for screw top wine to save time and the hassle of losing the corkscrew!
Just like the food, having entertainment planned in advance is the trick to a stress-free Christmas party. Music and playlists are a good way of orchestrating the tempo of your day of festivities. Plan for periods of lull, normally before food is served, because you don’t want guests to end up in the kitchen as they egg on the feast that is to come.
From WHAM! to Mariah Carey, Spotify promises Filtr UK’s Christmas is “The only Christmas party playlist you’ll need this year”.
Alternatively, if you want to get creative and make your own 2018 Christmas playlist, have a look at Every Official Christmas Number One by the Official Charts for some inspiration.
Will you include this year’s John Lewis Christmas Ad 2018 #EltonJohnLewis or X-Factor’s Dalton Harris ft. James Arthur version of Power Of Love.
Disney Sing Your Heart Out is a trending top album for Christmas 2018 on Amazon and includes classic’s that guest’s simply won’t be able to stop themselves singing along to.
Not feeling the joy. How about this one – I AM THE GRINCH! And how about reading How The Grinch Stole Christmas out loud as you open presents and guests get to open a present every time the word Grinch is said.
With over 11K Facebook followers, how about the kids of Flakefeet Primary School, Lancashire, for number one with Light Up Christmas #DARETODREAM. Who do you think will be Christmas number one this year?
When creating your Christmas music playlist organise it by mood, rather than genre of decade. So perhaps start with choral or classical songs with a separate cocktail hour playlist of lively Christmas tunes with good danceability for when the post-Christmas dinner sherry is starting to kick in. Make sure you create your Christmas music playlist for guest’s tastes. The ‘popularity’ rating on music streaming sites such as Spotify can be useful for guaranteeing that even the grinch of your party will get up and join in the Yuletide merry making.
Top Christmas Board Games 2018
For game time, if you’re not certain that santa will be bringing a fun party game, make sure you have some ready in advance.
Whilst still sat at the Christmas dinner table, use up any spare squirty cream with Pie Face Sky High. This provides instant laughs with relaxed rules for gamers to come and go as they please, as does Egged On and the mouth-piece game, Speak Out.
For getting everyone up after dinner so that the table can be cleared, Christmas piñata where everyone is a winner works well. Charades does the same and the 2018 Who’s The Dude is a modern twist on this classic.
For around the fire, tradition team games for all of the family are prefect. This year we like the Disney Song Challenge and teens will love Game For Fame and Love Island The Game. Some 2018 fun Christmas games include Sexy Charades, Sexiest Pub Quiz Ever! and Let’s Get Physical. For guests that like to outwit their opponents, Concept is the game of choice this year.
However you decide to spend your Christmas this year, Lakelovers wish you a cosy, happy Christmas filled with memories that you’ll treasure.
For booking a last-minute festive break in the Lake District call Lakelovers on 015394 88855 or visit Christmas Cottages. Our festive elves would love to help make your Christmas dreams come true.