People are waiting longer and longer to host their own Christmases. Of those aged 55+, 70% had hosted their own seasonal festivities before the age of 35. Now, just 59% of people have.
Of those who have hosted their own Christmas get-togethers, things quickly became more stressful than they expected. Problems ranged from a lack of fridge space (25% of respondents) to arguing with their partner over how to cook the Christmas dinner (10%).
Between balancing the needs of your family, in-laws, parents and anybody else you might have invited, hosting your first Christmas can be stressful. Fortunately, we've got an early present for you; we teamed up with party organiser Polly Betton to create some top tips to make sure your Christmas is a cracker.
Polly Betton’s Top Tips for hosting your first Christmas:
1) Organise your fridge
A quarter of people hosting Christmas for the first time said they ran out of fridge space to keep all the extra food supplies to see them through the festive period. Before you do your big Christmas shop, have a fridge clear out. Remember that lots of food stuffs, like eggs, jams and chutneys, some vegetables, don’t need to be kept in the fridge. A cool dark cupboard or pantry would do just as well instead.
2) Think outside the seating box
Extended family coming together is what makes Christmas special, but many first time hosters find they simply lack the space to seat everyone comfortably. As well as asking to borrow spare chairs from friends and relatives, why not consider alternative ways to keep everyone fed and watered? Buffets work really well for larger crowds and carpet picnics are great for an informal meal. Just watch out for gravy spills!
3) Check if any guests have special dietary requirements
In the panic to get everything planned for Christmas Day lunch, sometimes it’s easy to forget to check whether the traditional turkey dinner is right for everyone. Don’t forget to ask whether guests are vegetarian or have any special dietary requirements, such as a nut, wheat or gluten allergy.
4) Don’t forget the extras
It wouldn’t be Christmas dinner without all the trimmings, but it’s easy to forget them in the rush of the day, as the multiple jars of cranberry sauce languishing in my kitchen cupboards can testify. Lay out all the extras, like mustard for ham, cranberry sauce for the turkey and brandy butter for the Christmas pudding, somewhere visible when you start cooking, so you don’t forget to put them on the table in the dash to get everyone served.
5) Make sure your home is looking its festive best
For many people, moving into their first ‘proper’ home is a catalyst for hosting Christmas for the first time, so make sure it’s looking its festive best. Decorating your house from top to bottom needn’t cost the earth. Holly leaves, natural spruce and branches adorned with baubles are a cheap ways to make sure your home is as welcoming as Santa’s grotto for your guests.
6) Set a festive budget
Set your budget early on and stick to it. Involve guests in the planning stages, for example sending round your proposed menu well in advance. This means that you can find out if anyone wants anything special or expensive and agree that they will bring it along if it’s outside your budget.
7) Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without….
Every family has their own Christmas traditions and unique ways of doing things, without which Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas. Many couples hosting for the first time have to negotiate which traditions from which family they decide to keep, negotiations which can sometimes get heated! Compromise is usually the name of the game in maintaining festive peace, so make sure you know what traditions you can and can’t live without.
8) Make sure the turkey fits in the oven
If you’re not a regular cook, your oven probably will never have seen as much action as it gets on Christmas Day. Even the most meticulous planner can miscalculate the oven space required to get a turkey, a ham, roast potatoes, roast parsnips and any other dish on the table at the same time. When planning your timings, make sure you consider what is going in the oven when.
9) Don’t forget what’s really important
As stressful as hosting Christmas for the first time can be, don’t forget that it’s usually the simple things that people love the most about the festive celebrations, like spending quality time with family, going for a walk on Christmas Day and decorating the tree with loved ones.
10) Make sure Santa knows your new address
Finally, if you’re hosting Christmas at home for the first time this year, don’t forget to tell Santa your new address!
As most of our respondents (62%) said spending time with family was the best part of Christmas, we hope these tips will let you spend more of that special day with them and less panicking in the kitchen.