Is it your turn to host the family & friends celebration this year? We have put together a few tips to help you get organised and plan well so you can enjoy the event too.
· Fix a budget – Choose a realistic amount you expect to spend and stick to it. No one wants to be left with debt well into the New Year just to impress friends and family. Just because the party is at your house, doesn’t mean you have to pay for everything. One idea is asking a few guests to bring their best dish along and you may end up with a much lower budget than anticipated!
· If you do not have enough space for everyone – consider short term storage for some of your furniture at your local storage facility. This will clear out some much needed room, knowing you can get everything back to normal afterwards.
· Making it festive and pretty – do not add to the budget by buying expensive decorations. Simple fresh branches from the garden with a few tea lights can look festive and beautiful on a basic tablecloth. Get the kids busy in the holidays leading up to the day and make pretty, creative decorations which everyone will adore (since after all – it is home-made!)
· Choose only easy to make, simple, but impressive dishes. If you browse on the internet, you will be amazed at how many simpler variations of the same dish there can be. Again, family and friends can chip in to show off their own cooking skills and ease the burden on you.
· Manage the mood with lighting and music – everyone loves coloured lights. Try hanging a few simple, inexpensive strings of lights from the ceiling. Or alternatively lay it on the table to serve as the table decoration in-between cutlery. It doesn’t have to be expensive to look good. Set up different playlists of music which you can switch between to alter the mood as the day/evening progresses.
· Soak dirty dishes – fill a large plastic bin with warm, soapy water and keep it in the kitchen. Toss in used dishes during the party. These will soak nicely and make for easy cleaning later! If you have the space, have more than one tub and label them “glasses”, “pots and pans”, etc.
· Clear the air – Ensure you open a few key windows to circulate fresh, cool air. Or if it is sweltering outside, ensure the table’s position allows everyone to get the best from your air conditioning.
· Signal subtly that the party is over – Wind things down by lowering the music, blowing out a few candles, turn out a few lights… you get the idea. If your guests don’t get the hint, resort to PLAN B: start cleaning up – people will normally start saying their goodbye’s soon after!
· Dole out leftovers – an easy way to ensure you do not end up with lots of the same food, is to invest in cheap take-away containers from the local supermarket. This way you can make up little left over hand outs and ensure you keep only the share you would like to.
· Tidy up a tad – on the night, only clean up things that cannot wait like spills and stains. The dishes should be soaking in the tubs already and the big clean up can happen in the morning. Toddle off to bed and tackle the mess after a good night’s sleep.
Enjoy planning your Christmas get-together!!