For most of us, Christmas is simply the best time of year – a time for eating plenty of rich food, wrapping up warm and surrounding ourselves with friends and family. While Finish and the dishwasher deal with the aftermath, bringing your best tableware back to full shine ready for the next meal occasion. So if you’re planning on doing lots of entertaining over the festive period, take a look at our simple tips for throwing a successful dinner party.
DECK THE HALLS
Whether or not you go in for fluorescent light displays all over your roof and garden, you’ll want to make sure the inside of your house feels as festive as possible. Paper garlands are an easy and affordable way to brighten up your home, and by saving your old Christmas cards you can make them even more special. Follow our tutorialto learn how to make them.
Pine cones are everywhere at this time of year, and can make wonderful Christmas ornaments in a variety of ways. Try spray-painting them metallic silver and gold and using them in a deconstructed centrepiece, or glue tiny cardboard stars to the tops and stand them in small pots to enjoy mini trees on your table.
ORANGES AND LEMONS
Chances are you’ll be spending more than enough time cooking to fill the house with delicious smells, but you can add an extra scent of Christmas by making orange-and-clove ‘pomanders,’ or balls of perfume.
Using a channel knife, carve lines into the orange peel to make spirals, rings or criss-cross patterns. Poke holes in the lines with either cocktail sticks or a small nail, and fill them with cloves to make a sweet-smelling decoration. Arrange them decoratively in a clean bowl to add some citrus spice to your home.
SEASON OF PLENTY
If you’re serving lots of courses, it can be hard to find space on the table for all the tableware and cutlery your guests will need. Try stacking each person’s side plate and starter plate on top of their dinner plate and tying them all up with a ribbon. This looks especially lovely if you have plates in contrasting block colours, like black and white, as pictured. Make sure you pick up some matching crackers for a completely co-ordinated table.
As for serving the food, if you’re nervous about carving turkey, goose, or any other rather large bird, just arrange to do it in the kitchen by yourself and serve the meat as slices on a shiny, white or silver platter. Any unsightly pieces can easily be used up in curries and casseroles, so only serve your neatest slices on the actual day. As for the rest of the food, the only rule is to make sure there’s plenty of it. It’s always better to be eating leftovers for a week than for people to be left asking for more!
Christmas is all about home cooking and comforts, so keep the theme going with your decorations, too. Adding a touch of magic to the place settings needn’t be time consuming, and is well worth the warm atmosphere it will help to create.
You could try using Christmas tree decorations to tie up napkins, or if you’d rather co-ordinate, buy some extra baubles and write a guest’s name on each one as place settings. If you want to keep up the Christmas presents theme, tie a named gift tag to the back of each chair, accompanied by a sprig of holly or handmade paper snowflake as a thoughtful, personal touch.
Finally, don’t forget to revive your dishwasher after the busy Christmas period with Finish Dishwasher Cleaner, which gives your dishwasher a timely detox, leaving it clean and fresh!