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Easy-peasy festive party

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In what seems like a moment of madness, you’ve decided to throw a festive party to help liven up the week twixt Christmas and New Year. It seemed like a good idea back in October but now you’re wondering how on earth you’ll find the time to do all the prep, let alone sort out the shopping and cooking…

It’s all in the planning

Whether you like to use a notebook, laptop or scraps of wrapping paper, start making lists: how many guests are coming, what you need to buy and any special arrangements you need to make – organising a baby-sitter or hiring glasses, for instance.

Keep it simple

Unless you’re Elton John, no-one will be expecting a lavish event with an elaborate dress code. If you do want a theme for your guests, consider something simple like Christmas jumpers or funny festive hats and offer a prize for the best effort.

Delegate

You don’t want to spend all evening – or the days before – rushing about trying to do everything yourself. Rope a handful of friends into helping out by arriving early and taking responsibility for a particular job – getting the drinks organised, for example.

Go easy on the catering

Keep the catering straightforward. Whether you’re doing a cold buffet or serving a hot supper, order as much as you can from the supermarket in advance. Paper plates and disposable napkins are perfectly acceptable for nibbles and don’t need washing up.

Have a self-service bar

Don’t go overboard with your drinks selection. A glass of fizz on arrival is nice and avoids a scrum at the drinks table but then leave guests to help themselves to wine, beer and maybe a couple of spirits and mixers. Make sure there’s plenty of ice and lots of non-alcoholic options available.

Delegate – again

You’re bound to have friends who can help set up an evening’s music with an iPhone and a bit of technical wizardry, and others who are happy to offer their services for the next day’s clearing up. So, don’t be afraid to ask for help or to accept it cheerfully when it’s offered.

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