Around the Langford household the tree is up, the gifts are stashed, the domicile gleams, the invitations are sent and the dinner menu has been written out.
Christmas like any other special occasion is easy when you're organized. Many of those on our Christmas gift list have everything and judging tastes is always a difficult chore....so, ask a few people what they would like to open under the tree on Christmas day. There's nothing wrong with this idea. It's better to have a general idea when shopping, than head off to the stores with only inspiration, which may not match that of the gift recipient.
Planning the perfect occasion requires a little planning. For decorating we're careful to look at color co-ordination, setting a theme and preparing the table decorations. Be careful not to over-decorate. Often just a few touches here and there goes a long way.
Be sure to have your guests RSVP your invitation so you'll have a guide in meal planning. It's always a good idea to find out about food tastes and allergies as well. Inform your guest of the attire for your Christmas party. e.g...formal, jacket and tie or classy casual.
Have your wardrobe for the evening prepared well in advance. i.e... dry cleaners, jewelery, hair appointments etc. This will save last minute rushing around.
Carefully selected low volume background music can add to the enjoyment.
Two days before the big day clean house to make sure everything gleams and do a light cleaning the day before your guests arrive. Also, re-check your dinner and drinks menu to be sure you have everything on hand that you will need.
Have your dining room table table prepared the day before. Silverware polished, dinnerware, napkins etc. assembled for placement. Assign duties to family members to help out. A little eggnog or light refreshment and cookies... and soft Christmas music will help put everyone in the spirit.
Keep your hors d'oeuvres light. You'll want your guests coming to the table with an apetiite.
Do as much pre-preparation of dinner as possible. This will ensure you have ample time to spend with your guests in meeting and greeting.
Do a final critical inspection of your home an hour before guests arrive.
Presenting an attractive dinner table means care should be taken on how serving dishes are arranged. Create a symmetry that's pleasing to the eye.
Keep the kitchen clean looking and free of used pots and pans in the sink. Clean and put away as you prepare.
Keep the dinner table conversation light and cheerful. Christmas is not a day for solving the world's problems.
Be sure to have small parting gifts on hand for your visitors. This will require a little imagination, but will create a pleasing memory for all who visited.
One last thing....find a warm comfortable place for your pets to stay before guests arrive. Not everyone will appreciate Rover showing his affections.
Enjoy....and be sure to save a double helping of dessert for me.