I love entertaining, like seriously I can’t get enough of it. I love coming up with and preparing the food, decorating the house, organising the dining table and spending good quality time with friends or family. I can spend hours preparing for a dinner party, thinking about every single detail and being completely organised so that I can enjoy the party just as much as everybody else. As much as I love entertaining, it can also be stressful. You can be as organised as you like, but when you are catering for more than two people, it is inevitably going to be hard work. It’s hard work that pays off and I can always tell that everyone appreciates it, although at Christmas I feel like the pressure naturally is always just that little bit more. Christmas is the time of the year when you really want to impress your guests and just make sure everything goes swimmingly so that everyone has a thoroughly good time. Yes, there is always next year, but I have this little obsession with every year being perfect.
Entertaining is about providing a fun and food filled evening for your guests, whilst also enjoying it yourself. As much as you are going to feel the pressure, you also want to keep the stress levels to a minimum and have a really good evening with family and friends.
Every year there are small things that I do to try and make my Christmas dinner parties extremely fun and memorable. I love spending time in the festive season with the ones I love, there is a much more magical feeling and everyone is just so much less anxious and tense from life! The food is always the centre piece to me – it is the thing that I look forward to the most and probably the same scenario for my guests! My family are not really ones for games or entertainment as such, we usually just land up having a little too much to drink and generally just chatting for hours and hours on end.
I always find that the most important part of a dinner party is making your guests feel relaxing and happy as they enter your home. My family are very good at settling in and making themselves at home, purely because we are all very close, and enjoy being in each others company. We are a little bit of a crazy family, it can all get very loud, but with endless amounts of entertainment and humour throughout the time spent together. I always try to have some snacks and appetisers prepared for when everybody arrives, as most people always seem starving as they walk through the front door. My favourite thing to make is smoked salmon canapés. I always just buy the canapés from my local supermarket, then top them with a little cream cheese, smoked salmon and a sprinkling of fresh chives. They are a real crowd pleaser and are so beautiful to the eye. They go down a treat, especially with the first glass of obligatory Prosecco. By this time, the evening or lunch is always in full swing and I take my attention back to the kitchen. A big thing for me is to get as much done as possible prior to everyone’s arrival, so there is just the bare minimum to do in the kitchen when everyone is there.
I know that everyone says a dinner party is about spending time with those you love and having fun, however I do also like to deliver some delicious food. If I’m being perfectly honest, it is more because I want to eat something delicious than trying to please everybody else. At Christmas time I like to cook comforting meals, something that is relatively easy and I know that everybody will like. Every year I make slow roast pork for my family, with creamy potatoes and vegetables. The great thing about this dish is that the majority of the preparation is done before the party itself, so all you have to do is take things out the oven and serve. Other dishes that are great for occasions like these are a big Bolognese, which you can make the day before, or even a really delicious chilli con carne.
The Dining Table
The part of entertaining that I enjoy the most is decorating the dining table. I make plan before, deciding on a colour scheme and buying all the things I don’t already have. Then, once the majority of the cooking is done, I then make the time to set it all up properly. This red design is what I created last boxing day for festivities with my family. Last year was my first year in the flat and I wanted to have a very traditional Christmas. All my decorations were red and gold, which is why I then chose the red theme for the Christmas table. I loved the outcome of last year, it was so beautifully festive and perfect for the celebrations with my family. I managed to buy almost everything in either a supermarket or Wilko’s, which also meant that I didn’t have to spend a fortune. This year I have decided to go for a frosty white Christmas theme throughout my home, including when I entertain, and I can’t wait to share the outcome over the next few weeks here on the blog.
The final part of the dinner party is always preparing a little entertainment. To be perfectly honest, my family always provide this in the conversations we seem to have and the entertainment inevitably given by my 10-year-old cousin, however last year I did buy a few things. I bought a selfie kit from the supermarket, just a few tacky selfie props which we all put on to take pictures. This was much more successful than I had anticipated, mostly because we spent a very long time taking the piss out of my grandma who looked absolutely hilarious in her selfie kit! For Jack, I bought a ‘hungry hippos’ game which I remembered I used to play a lot when I was younger with my little brother. We adored it, so I knew Jack would too. Safe to say, it provided a lot of fun not just for him but for all of us. We are very clearly extremely competitive! I don’t think you ever need to go overboard on entertainment, although having a few small things lined up can always make for a very interesting evening.
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