It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and that means it’s time to throw open the doors for your annual Christmas Day get-together.
And while you’ve always managed Christmases in the past with all the dexterity of a Swiss army knife, this year could be different. Your children may now have children and all of a sudden you’re faced with more mouths to feed and multiple generations to keep entertained.
But extra guests needn’t mean extra stress. In fact, once you’ve taken a few minutes to read our advice, below, you’ll be declaring ‘the more the merrier!’ before tucking into your perfectly-cooked Christmas turkey.
Keep things simple
Christmas is a time for relaxing with the family – not for a meticulously planned culinary production.
If thoughts of oven space have you concerned, focus on getting the most time-consuming bits out of the way a few days before. For instance, cranberry sauce can be prepped early and stuffing made in advance, meaning you have more time – and less clearing up – come the big day.
If you have guests with dietary requirements, on the other hand, make sure you hear about them before the 20th of December, at the very latest. This way, you can buy in what they need, and also save yourself time by making just the right amount of food for everyone.
And, last but not least, don’t run yourself ragged by trying to make everything from scratch. No one will scoff at a serving of ready prepared roast potatoes if it means there’s more time for you to relax with them at the dinner table.
Cater to all ages
It’s not very often that you are expected to cater to multiple generations for a slap-up meal, so it can feel a little daunting at first. However, it is simple when you give it a little pre-party thought.
For instance, young children might feel flustered if they notice their parents, aunts and uncles are stressing over seating arrangements. To keep them clear of the chaos, create a space a short distance from the main party where the kids can just be kids. Provide them with festive activities (garland making is a good option), and perhaps even a tablet or two if you’re going for Grandparent of the Year. Don’t forget to take it in turns with the other adults to supervise them.
Similarly, teenagers aren’t likely to be inspired by political conversations, nor will they be eager to play pin-the-tail-on-Rudolph with their grandparents. For this demographic of your family, simply give them some space and the WiFi password, and they’ll enjoy the day plenty.
Bring it all together
Once the food has been devoured and the digestifs quaffed, it’s time to all gather in the lounge for some festive relaxation. And while you don’t want to bother yourself with a schedule, it doesn’t hurt to have a few group activities up your sleeve for when the TV just isn’t cutting it.
The classic is a visit from Santa Claus. Young children will love seeing a burly member of the family burst through the doors with presents in hand. Just remember to keep it a secret until the big reveal.
Boardgames are another Christmas party staple - but don’t think you have to stick with Monopoly and Scrabble. Interactive games that get the whole family involved, like Cranium and Pictionary, are top choices – plus, they’ll keep the young guests’ hands busy. Also try introducing games to the festivities which demand a different set of skills beyond good luck. Games like Articulate!, for instance, get the brain ticking over – a great choice to get older family members out of the post-turkey slump.
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