Christmas Hosting Hacks

We're here to see you through the festive period!

While Christmas is a magical time for most of the family, if you’re the one lumbered with the hosting duties then the festive season can quickly lose a little bit of its charm.

So, to help keep the magic alive even though you’re decorating a 6ft tall tree, wrapping a truck load of gifts, serving elaborate festive drinks, repeatedly basting the turkey and generally making sure everyone else is having a wonderful Christmas time (to quote Sir Paul McCartney) we’ve compiled a list of our favourite hostess hacks to help you out.

Plan, Plan and Plan Again

First and foremost, we cannot overstate the importance of having a plan. It doesn’t matter if it’s a to do list scribbled hastily on the back of last year’s spare Christmas napkin or an elaborately crafted affair complete with tinsel trim and colour co-ordinated post it notes, what matters is that you know what you’re doing and when. 

Use the calendar in your phone, repurpose an advent calendar and swap the daily chocolate for daily chores (the rewards will be worth it when you’re enjoying faultless festivities), or hack it and download a printable Christmas planner like this one, or this one...

Next Up: Decorating Hacks

    1.    Use the magic ratio to keep your tree decorating on track and avoid buying too few or too many decorations: for every 1 foot of tree height you need 100 lights, 9 feet of garland and 20 ornaments

    2.    Use shiny green tinsel to make your tree look fuller!

    3.    Make scrabble tiles into place settings for the dinner table, it has been done time and time again for weddings, so why not use this technique at Christmas too?

Image from, Photograph by Nato Welton, styling by Polly Atkinson

4. Or, glue two candy canes together to make simple but effective festive place holders. You can do it this way and just swap “eat me” for the names of your guests… 

Image from

Or how about doing like A Spoonful Of Sugar Designs and pair your candy cane with a sprig of greenery as well?

Image from A Spoonful Of Sugar Designs

Or last but by no means least, take a leaf out of The Classroom Creative’s book and give this candy cane name holder a go…

Image from

5. Hang decorations from your light fittings to make a festive chandelier

6. Use scent to create a festive atmosphere - think along the lines of cinnamon scented candles!

7. Boost your tree height with a homemade plinth

Now For Gifting Hacks

8. Decorate with tree clippings to make everything festive. This printable Christmas wrapping paper (bonus hack!) from looks modern, festive and fabulous with the addition of just a few sprigs of greenery. 

Image from

9. Wrap gifts with leftover fabric remnants

10. Label Christmas gifts with family photos

A Few Christmas Cooking Hacks

11. Keep starters simple

12. Store ice cream in a plastic bag to keep it soft and ready to serve

13. Make meals ahead of time and do any prep work you can before guests arrive and festivities begin. Some things like sauces, marinade and stocks can even benefit from having extra time to mature and develop!

14. Make gingerbread cookies and double up their benefits by using them as decorations. BBC Good Food has the recipe and instructions for making gingerbread bunting right here. You may also remember this fabulous gingerbread wreath from our list of 11 festive baking recipes posted last year too if you’re feeling a little more ambitious… 

Image from BBC Good Food alongside the recipe and instructions for making your very own

15. Go to town on finger foods. There small and therefore quick to cook and better still, all you need to do is place these on a platter and let your guests help themselves

16. Try ‘no-bake’ Christmas treats

17. Take a picture of your fridge and cupboard contents before committing to the Christmas food shop to save buying what you don’t need

And Last But Not Least, A Few Drinking Hacks

18. Make festive punch, you can prepare it well before your guests arrive and simply leave in a serving bowl so guests can help themselves, saving you the hassle of running to and from the kitchen with drinks

19. Create a DIY bar

20. Chill wine (and other festive beverages) with frozen cranberries

21. If you’re short on fridge space but have a lot of drink to chill for when family and friends visit, put it outside in the back garden and leave to chill in ice buckets

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22. Serve cocktails in bulk

23. Make hot chocolate in a crock pot to keep a supply hot and ready to serve whenever the request for a mug comes in

And there you have it, 23 Christmas hosting hacks designed to help you keep the magic alive the festive season, as well as hopefully saving you lots of time and effort along the way...

Make sure you head back tomorrow to see what's behind tomorrow's advent door!

Publish date: 03/01/2018

Publisher: New Home Finder