AS we count down the days to the most wonderful time of the year, being tasked with the all-important role of playing host to that annual Christmas get together with friends or family can seem like a daunting prospect – but it doesn’t have to be.
Make this festive season your best one yet with a little help from the experts at The Assembly Rooms and Bonbar, so you can relax and overindulge on fine food and drinks in the company of your nearest and dearest without the stress.
Emily Berry, the iconic Newcastle city centre venue’s sales and marketing executive shares her top tips to master hosting that special occasion this season:
- Planning is key – When hosting an event of any scale, meticulous planning can make the difference between a night to remember and a night you’d rather forget. Write detailed to-do lists and shopping lists, splitting them into different categories for food and drinks, decorations, entertainment and gifts, ticking things off as you go – this way you won’t forget anything.
- Create a luxe look – Attention to detail is important so choose a colour scheme which will run throughout everything from tree decorations, to flowers, table settings and candles. A scented candle can evoke real scents of Christmas, allowing guests to reflect on their favourite festive memories. Keep your colour scheme as complimentary to your home décor as possible.
- Start the evening celebrations with Christmassy cocktails – Greet your guests on arrival with a fabulously fruity cocktail, a great way to get the party started and surprise with your skills. For festive flavours, why not recreate one of the new mixes which make up Bonbar’s Christmas cocktail menu. My favourite is the Gold, Frankincense & Byrhh – a mix of vodka, Byrhh, cassis, frankincense and lemon tonic – created by our very own Johny Hume who was recently named North East Mixologist of the Year. To go all out, try the Bonbar Egg Nog recipe with Apple Jack, Pimento dram, dry cider and nutmeg.
- Practice makes perfect – When creating your food menu, if the dishes are new to you, allow yourself enough time to do a practice run before the big night. While you’re busy adding those all-important finishing touches in the kitchen, leave your guests with some extra special nibbles to whet their appetite. Bonbar’s new Christmas sharing boards include a range of festive classics to indulge in. I love the vine tomatoes stuffed with buffalo mozzarella and fresh basil and mini sausages with a wholegrain mustard glaze.
- Entertain your guests – Make sure the atmosphere doesn’t fall flat by creating a music playlist with a selection of disco favourites and Christmas classics, and set this to play just before your guests are due to arrive. Prepare some fun party games for after dinner to carry on the merriment into the evening. If you have any younger guests, have a couple of at-the-table activities on hand to keep them occupied, like a Christmas colouring book.