Posts

Planning a Stress-Free Christmas Dinner Party

Whether you’re hosting a large group of friends and family at your house or cooking up a feast for your immediate family, it can be stressful to plan for a holiday dinner party – especially if you’re acting as head-chef, sous-chef and server throughout the event. After all, these meals most probably involve multiple courses, your best silverware and china you only get out for Christmas, and a whole lot of decorations: It’s enough to make anyone go mad!

Christmas Dinner Party

With the right planning, however, you’ll be well on your way to a more stress-free and satisfying Christmas. In some cases, your planning process may even include delegating out the cleaning chores and kitchen tasks to the rest of the family or housemates, so that you can focus on being the perfect party host for your guests.

Below, we’ve put together a few Christmas party ideas to make your planning and Christmas dinner easier.

Define your menu

Christmas dinners are always based around one thing – you guessed it – lots and lots of delicious food, it’s important to start here before you plan anything else, and see if you can cut back in any area.

If you’re cooking all the food yourself, you should first consider enlisting a few elves to help, or if you can’t find any elves, friends or family to help in the kitchen.

While it can be fun to go all out for this kind of event, make sure that your menu doesn’t put too much stress on your own plate and is simple enough to produce.

After you put together a holiday dinner menu, ask yourself these questions:

  • How many guests will I have, and what are their dietary needs and restrictions?
  • What recipes do I plan to use?
  • What’s the timescale to make this meal from beginning to end?
  • Can I make any dishes ahead of time?
  • Am I comfortable using these recipes?
  • Do I want it to be a potluck dinner and have guests bring unique side dishes? – This can give you more time for you to be the perfect host, as you won’t be in the kitchen as much.
  • Will there be young children there, and if so, will they have a separate menu?

Once you have the answers to these questions, go back to the drawing board and eliminate anything that will add unnecessary time to your meal preparations. Pretty soon, you’ll find that your menu accurately reflects the needs of your group and plays to your individual strengths as a cook, making it easier to get ready.

It’s also a good idea to create your ingredient shopping list early on, so you won’t be running to the shops to grab anything later.

Put down the cocktail shaker

For a lot of us, a seasonal cocktail is just as important as the Christmas dinner itself. However, you don’t have to practice your bartending skills all year round and play bartender to give your guests an amazing time. It’s much easier to make cocktail batches in advance, which you can include on a decorated bar cart with ice, napkins, garnishes, and other essentials. Don’t drink? There’s always some alcohol-free punches that taste heavenly as well!

Some of the best holiday cocktail recipes to make in a batch include:

  • A delicious apple mocktail, like a Caramel Apple Mocktail
  • One for the bah humbugs to get them in the Christmas mood, a Grinch Punch
  • Classic hot drinks, like Martha Stewart’s mulled wine
  • One for all the lovers out there, a Mistletoe Margarita
  • A festive winter sangria, like this one from Joyful Healthy Eats

Whatever you make, be sure you and your guests drink responsibly.

Pre dinner party cleaning

Whether you’re picking up the duster yourself or delegating the cleaning to someone else, it’s critical to include pre-party cleaning time in your schedule. Unless guests will be wandering throughout the house, focus on high-traffic areas like the kitchen, living room, and dining room. In general, the cleaning should be completed no more than two days before the guests arrive.

Get the right ambience

You don’t need to go mad with decorations to make your home feel cosy and welcoming. After all, a dinner party is primarily about one thing: food!

As long as your house is clean and your tables are ready to go, you’ll be well on your way to holiday bliss.

That being said, we’ve got a few easy tricks you can use to boost the ambience in your space:

  • Set the mood with the right holiday playlist. Just use Alexa or Google Home to put on some Christmas favourites and your home will instantly feel Christmas party-ready.
  • Make space for shoes and coats. Don’t have a coat or shoe rack? No problem: Pick out a designated closet and be sure there are enough hangers for coats. Then lay down a mat or a rug for guests to place their shoes. Alternatively, if no one is staying in the spare room, put the coats neatly labelled on the bed.
  • Open the windows before your guests show up. It may be a bit chilly outside, but it’s a good idea to give your dining area a blast of fresh air right before guests arrive. You’ll eliminate any lingering odours from all of the festive cooking, and the room will warm up again in no time.
  • Light up a few scented candles. Candles are a great way to communicate warmth and comfort to your guests. They may even think you’ve been baking for hours if you choose the right one!

Need a Helping Hand This Year?

At Merry Maids, we provide top-notch cleaning services so that you can rest a little easier before your dinner party. By delivering a detailed clean we can guarantee, our cleaning experts will let your home’s natural beauty shine through. From entryways to bathrooms to staircases, your guests will be wowed by your home!

We’re wishing you a very happy and stress-free holiday season! Find your nearest Merry Maids to get your home sparkling for your dinner party.

Pre-Christmas Cleaning Checklist

Christmas is on its way, in fact, it’s less than a month away now!

Pre-Christmas Cleaning Checklist

Are you planning on hosting a Christmas party or Christmas day itself with the family?

If you are then this pre-Christmas cleaning checklist is exactly what you need.

Guest Bedroom Pre-Christmas Cleaning

Make sure your guest bedroom/s are cleaned for your guests or any unexpected guests, like a friend who may have had a few too many and cannot drive home.

  • Change the sheets/bedding & duvets so they are clean and fresh for your guests. A quick tip to make them even fresher smelling is to wash them separately to any clothes
  • Vacuum and polish the guest room to ensure the room has a welcoming scent

If your guest room isn’t used that often, it may not be as welcoming as some other rooms in the house.

  • You can potentially get a few paintings or photos up in the room, maybe a houseplant or anything else you may feel is welcoming

Your guests are quite likely to be staying more than one night, therefore, they’ll need a bit of space to put their clothes and other belongings.

  • Empty the wardrobe and drawers of usually, all of your summer clothes or, “I’ll take these to a charity shop one-day” clothes
  • This will ensure your guest has sufficient space and will feel more at home, instead of living out of their suitcase

Kitchen Pre-Christmas Cleaning

The kitchen is usually the mingling hub in the house, especially with the mulled wine brewing on the stove, it makes it feel warm and Christmassy!

Your oven needs to be clean to ensure it’s ready for the juicy turkey or tasty nut roast!

  • Buy a good oven cleaning product and follow the instructions on the label, as there are lots of different products you can use
  • A clean oven will one make your food taste better, and two it won’t produce smoke that would float around the house making it smell nasty. Although, if you burn the turkey, for starters you wouldn’t be very popular and it would be your fault if the house smells bad!

You’ll most probably have to put a lot of food in your fridge and freezer so it’s time for a clear out!

  • Have a clean fridge for all of your Christmas food
    – Remove all food, drawers and shelves
    – Soak drawers and shelves in washing up liquid
    – Use warm water and washing up liquid to wipe the interior
    – Wipe outer surfaces, dry inside with kitchen roll
    – Dry and return the drawers/shelves
    – Wait until the temperature has returned to 5°C

Having a clean and less cluttered fridge will allow space for all of the pigs in blankets, wine and trifle etc!

Bathroom Pre-Christmas Cleaning

The wintertime is the main time of year when people get those horrid colds that they just can’t get rid of.

That’s why pre-cleaning the bathroom and maintaining the cleanliness throughout the time your guests are here is important.

  • Clean the bathroom from top to bottom, including; bath, shower, sink, toilet, carpet, cupboards and anything else you may have in there
  • Tidy up your bathroom to leave some space for your guest’s toiletries, or  if you have two bathrooms then move all of your toiletries to the bathroom your guests won’t be using. This will again make them feel at home

Living Room Pre-Christmas Cleaning

Your living room is the main social and board gaming hub in the house, with the fire roaring in the background and the smell of Christmas all around.

  • Vacuum your living room carpet before your guests arrive and during their stay depending on how long they’re there for
  • Vacuum all of your upholstery and cushions prior to guests arriving
  • Have a general tidy up and if you have time a bit of a declutter of things you don’t need during the winter period

Home Exterior Pre-Christmas Cleaning

Ensure the outside of your house looks welcoming for your guests and any neighbours that might pop round to wish you a Merry Christmas.

  • Clean your outside decorations just by wiping them with a dry cloth
  • Clean your windows on the inside and outside
  • Make sure, if you have a drive that you’ve left enough space for your guest’s car/s or if it’s on-street parking there is enough space for them. If you live in a city remember to sort out their on-street parking permits

 

If you don’t feel like you have any time to clean your home remember you can give us a call to do it all for you! You can find your nearest Merry Maids business here.