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A guide to the ultimate Christmas dinner party

9th November 2021
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In the run-up to the big day, gathering together with friends and family is one of the highlights of the festive season. If it’s your turn to host this year, then our ultimate Christmas dinner party guide will give you plenty of ideas for the most perfect of evenings.

The Food

First and foremost, let’s start with the most important part of a great Christmas dinner party…the food! You’ll need to decide if you want to keep the occasion formal with a sit-down meal or more relaxed – perhaps a buffet or cheeseboard selection?

Here’s our suggestion for a delicious, but simple three-course menu:

Goat’s cheese, pear & Candid pecan salad makes a great vegetarian option and the creamy goat’s cheese mixed with the crunchy pecans give it lots of texture – this one is a real people pleaser!

Give everyone a break from turkey with a Lamb & Christmas spices stew for the main course. This one-pot wonder is packed full of Christmas flavours such as cinnamon and can be prepared in advance and then defrosted and re-heated on the day, giving you more time to spend with your guests.

And finally, to send everyone home with a tummy full of happy, serve up a Chocolate orange-tini trifle for dessert. Full of zesty flavours and only slightly boozy (we promise!), this makes a wonderfully indulgent end to a festive menu.

Of course, no festive evening should start without a Christmas themed welcome drink. Some of our favourites include:

A classic mulled wine, perfectly spiced and made with good quality red wine. It’s pretty much Christmas in a glass. Here’s an easy recipe.

Buck’s Fizz is yet another festive favourite and is so simple to make, taking some pressure off you when your guests arrive.

Or, if you feel like pushing your cocktail making skills to the next level, then a retro Snowball is the one to give a go. Made with advocaat, lemonade and ice – it’s a real classic Christmas cocktail.

If all of this sounds like too much hard work, then a really simple way to keep your guests well-fed is a fondue, it’s creamy and wonderfully indulgent and surprisingly easy to make. Check out this recipe from BBC FOOD. A fondue can also make a great sharing dessert if you replace the cheese with chocolate…delicious!

Christmas Party Themes

When it comes to theming, we are definitely fans of less is more. You can of course rely on your already in-situ Christmas decorations and your tree to add to the festive merriment, but other simple additions include soft romantic lighting to set a warm ambience. We’re thinking of twinkling fairy lights, candles and lanterns. These DIY candles from Merrythought are perfect.

Photo credit: themerrythought.com

If you want to mix it up a little, then you can stray away from the traditional red and green colour palette and perhaps decorate your table with some gold or copper accessories instead – they give off a lovely warming tone and look great paired with pine cones.

Wooden accessories paired with bright red berries also look fantastic as part of a Christmas themed table and are very inexpensive.

Photo credits: liagriffith.com & martysmusings.net

Christmas Party Outfits

If you are hosting at your home, you may want to keep the dress code relaxed or alternatively it may be nice to give your guests the opportunity to dig out their Sunday best and dress to impress. Options can include Black Tie, Cocktail or just general festive attire. Christmas party outfits tend to be shimmering and deep in colour such as ruby or green. However, it doesn’t always mean wearing a dress, a stylish one-piece or jumpsuit teamed with a faux-fur jacket can also very easily turn heads.

As soon as you do decide on your Christmas party dress code, just be sure to let your guests know so that they can plan accordingly.

Christmas Party Games

No doubt, you will want to plan some entertainment for the evening. A couple of really fun and simple games are:

Christmas Quiz settle down after dinner for a yuletide themed quiz, you can download a free printable Christmas quiz here from Party Delights. All of the questions are fabulously Christmas themed and will keep the festive feelings flowing into the evening.

Christmas Photo Props – funny eyewear, hats and signs are great for photo opportunities, so spread some props around your table and let guests “prop up” and pose for the camera. The photos will also make wonderful keepsakes of your evening.

Gin Pong is a (dare we say it) classier version of the well-known beer pong and is best played after dinner. Put six paper cups in formation at each end of the table, and fill with small amounts of gin & tonic. Teams take a position at each end of the table and take it in turns to throw a ping pong ball into the cups – if a ball successfully lands then a member of the opposition must drink a cup of G&T. The team to successfully hit all cups, wins!

For a more PG version, you could try throwing jingle bells into cups and replacing the G&T with simple festive cheer.

Still not feeling it?

If you really don’t feel like hosting this year, then there are plenty of opportunities to bring your nearest and dearest to a Devonshire Hotels & Restaurants venue. Many of our places offer festive dining packages for up to 24 guests or if you want to plan something a little bigger we also have spaces for exclusive use parties. Talk to us about planning your festive celebration today.

To speak with one of our dedicated event coordinators, please email events@thedevonshirehotels.co.uk, or call us on 01756 718155.

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