Another year is coming to an end and Christmas celebrations are just around the corner. While this is sure to bring fun festivities, it does also have the potential to make life just a little more crazy and stressful at times - especially when it comes to opening your home to the extended family and their (not so) endearing antics. So to help you avoid any festive freakouts, we've put together a guide for making the most of the Christmas Season and coming out the other end with your family and friends. We'd love to hear about any tips you may have for making Christmas festive, or some of the interesting Silly Season experiences you've had before, so feel free to drop us a comment on facebook or in the black box below.
Do: Set a guest limit
Whether you are hosting a party or having family or friends stay over, it's always a good idea to consider how much space you have to accommodate everyone you invite. Nothing makes a party fizzle out faster, or families crankier, than being squished together like sausages. Decide from the very beginning how many people you want in your home. From here it will be possible for you to know exactly who you are catering for and what you need to prepare. It also gives you the opportunity to either let people know that you are unfortunately not able to accommodate extras or that they can bring whomever they want.
Do: Accommodate the kids
Your friends may have said they have a babysitter or that the kids will be staying with their grandparents, but life happens and it’ll help to be prepared for it. Whether it’s guests coming to a party or staying over in your house, have a baby back-up plan - just in case. Set youngsters up in their own space with some treats and movies and let them enjoy their own little party. If they are going to be spending an extended period of time in your home, it would be worth preparing the environment fully for them - plug protectors, if they are under the age of six, and packing away anything that can be easily damaged or broken.
Do: Allow for some Christmas cheesiness
Caroling and over the top Christmas decorations are great for getting into the festive spirit. While they may be considered a little cheesy by some, they're great at bringing people together.
If you intend to go caroling, it's a good idea to have some favourites on hand. The lyrics are easily downloadable off the internet and will help you avoid those awkward moments when everyone forgets the words and just hums.
Christmas decorating is another great way to bond with family and friends. From covering the Christmas tree in tinsel to making popcorn chains, there are plenty of group decorating activities to enjoy. Something else to consider is making Christmas cookies or a gingerbread house, which could double as decorations (as long as you don’t eat them).
Do: Dress up
Dressing up as Father Christmas is usually just for the kids, but why not get the adults involved too? If you're hosting a Christmas Party or have guests with you on the 25th, dressing up could be a fun way to get the festivities going or to recapture some childhood memories. You don’t need to go the whole hog, but Father Christmas hats, elf ears and reindeer antlers can make the day just that much more Christmassy
Do: Consider getting help with the cooking
Christmas cooking can be a lot of fun, if it's your thing. However, if you feel that it can be somewhat overwhelming, it may be a good idea to enlist the help of caterers to see you through the festive eating extravaganza. Penni Black London Caterers will take care of all your celebratory needs, whether it means creating your festive feast for you in your kitchen or delivering tasty cold treats for you to enjoy.
It would be fantastic to have your entire meal just delivered and for you to be able to claim all the credit for the gourmet Christmas feast. And you can, with Penni Black catering.They will prepare, deliver and drop off any cold foods before your event. They can also help you with any other catering requirements and will create menus and services to suit your budget, which will give you every chance to make any and all the claims you like.
Do: Get help with the clean-up
While you may be a Bree Van de Camp from Desperate Housewives or a Monica from Friends, it's still worth considering getting help with your Christmas cleaning. Rather than trying to take on too much, make this season your time to take a break and let the cleaning bother someone else for once. By hiring a once-off cleaner to help you deal with the stresses of Christmas cleanliness, you will be free to do whatever you want or need to do and you're guaranteed that your house will be sparkling and ready for anything.
While the idea of letting someone else come into your home may raise the hairs on the back on your neck, it really doesn't have to be a scary experience. By enlisting help from a well-known company such as Molly Maid, you'll be reassured that the people you are letting into your home have been well trained and are insured. After they come for a free quote, just make the booking, point them in the right direction and relax knowing that they'll take care of everything. It's a good idea to get the quote and the booking done early to ensure that you won’t be left stranded and battling to get things ready in time.
Do: Take a break and relax
If you can, try and fit in an afternoon that can be all about you. This will give you the chance to relax, refresh and mentally prepare yourself for any and all challenges that may be thrown in your path. Once you've done that, you will be far more likely to laugh at any mishaps and enjoy the time spent with family and friends, even if it doesn't turn out to be a completely picture-perfect Christmas, make it an enjoyable one.
Don't: Suffer from a Christmas hangover
Between the rich food and all the Christmas booze (in the pudding and on the rocks), some sort of hangover is inevitable. Here's what to do when you finally surface on Boxing Day feeling like you've had one-too-many hits to the head.
A simple hangover cure: Fruit and honey are the thing to grab to get rid of all your post-party woes. The high fructose content found in them helps your body flush impurities out of the blood stream. Supplement this with some vitamin C tablets to help your liver break down the alcohol faster and you should be good to go in no time.
Don't: Forget to take photos
You don't need to have a great big fancy camera to capture the festive moments, but you do need fully charged batteries. Whether you are using your phone or a digital camera, make sure that the battery is fully charged. It's also advisable to have spare batteries (or a phone charger) close at hand, allowing you the freedom to take as many shots of yuletide events as you want - without worrying about the confounded gadget dying on you.
Don't: Forget the fun and games
Party games are all part of what helps create festive merriment, so it would be worth your while to stock up on some. Everything from scrabble to charades can help to break the ice and get the festivities going - especially if you have people attending your party or staying with you whom you've never met. Try some new games or rely on the good old favourites for a Merry Christmas.
Last Updated: November 2012
Your Essential Travel Experts can't be everywhere all the time, so we often welcome guest travel writers. This article was written by one such visiting travel enthusiast whose experience of different places and advice for travellers makes for an interesting read. Enjoy!