Christmas is synonymous with high expectations. The wonderful family party in a beautifully decorated house and, of course, the delicious Christmas feast. In reality it can be hard on the hostess or host to provide everything expected and still find time to enjoy the day themselves so here are my five top tips for getting the most out of this festive holiday:
1. If you don't spend the other 364 days of the year in the kitchen rustling up meals that could pass muster in Masterchef then dont try to achieve culinary miracles on Christmas Day. Stick to cooking food that you can do confidently and comfortably and plan and prepare as much as possible well ahead of the big day.
2. Use simple decorations such as ribbons tied into pretty bows and sparkly baubles in shallow dishes to trim up your rooms - they're quick to put out, look effective and will leave you with more time for other things.
3. Have ideas for the day which include some things for grandparents and the children to do and also allows a bit of quieter time after the main event. Plan your meal around things your family does at Christmas - maybe you go to church or like to watch the Queen - be sure these things are fitting into your day.
4. Let others help! It sounds obvious but I know one person at least who has to be in control of every minute detail - it wont matter if the carrots are cut in perfect slices or the napkins aren't arranged just so - relax and remember its a fun, family event so let everyone muck in. They will enjoy helping too.
5. Wear an apron over your chosen outfit! Nothing will ruin your day faster than splashing gravy on your best cashmere cardigan.
And most of all, have a wonderful Christmas!