While restrictions may still be in place across much of the world as the pandemic continues, Christmas is a time to eat, drink and be merry – no matter how small your party or curtailed your plans might be.
‘Christmas is all about sparkle and magic in my eyes,’ says Augusta Cole, who has over a decade of experience in producing incredible events around the globe. Her secrets to festive entertaining will make sure that, wherever you are and whoever you’re with, your Christmas has that all-important special touch.
‘Besides white, twinkly lights, green garlands and gorgeous silk and velvet ribbons, I am crazy about antique colorful glass ornaments, particularly the ones that are almost so old and delicate you truly only want to touch them once a year!’ says Augusta. ‘I inherited some that I love from my grandmother.’
Remember to think outside the box, too. ‘I would say, the smell of evergreen and a roaring fireplace are also two quintessential Christmas party traits! But you can find your own style by creating moodboards, like I’ve done – they’ll help you to refine the look and feel of the evening.’
If the idea of too much planning feels overwhelming, remember that when it comes to throwing a good party, it’s more than ok to stick to the basics. ‘As for entertaining staples, let’s be serious – it’s all about a beautifully stocked bar,’ says Augusta. ‘These wine glasses and green crystal champagne coupes will be just the trick.’
‘I am always here for a dinner party, and love a festive reason to set a table, but there is something about a Christmas party that begs for delightful canapés and lots of mingling,’ says Augusta. ‘Bar snacks in pretty silver dishes are a must – spiced and candied nuts paired with cheese straws to be specific.’
If you really want to push the boat out, try Augusta’s own recipe. ‘Growing up in Nashville, we learned some simple southern party tricks. For one that tastes too good to be so easy, try cream cheese covered in hot pepper jelly. Serve with a variety of crackers and there you have it!’
Augusta’s other favourites include tried-and-tested classics like devilled eggs topped with caviar, ham biscuits with spicy honey mustard, chilled asparagus with hollandaise dipping sauce, and hot, bacon-wrapped dates. The final touch? An abundant display of shrimp cocktail. ‘Have plenty of everything, and no one should go home hungry.’
Serve everything in style on a selection of our fine bone china platters, which will show off Christmas creations to perfection. A bright, red and white tablecloth meanwhile, will add a sense of occasion to any table.
For Augusta, it’s all about music and candlelight for creating a mood. ‘Whether it’s a fabulous playlist or live musicians bringing a sexy, holiday vibe, guests must enter into a party atmosphere,’ she says. ‘Keep your overhead lighting low and flood your space with candlelight to supplement the twinkling lights from your tree and garland. There is nothing more magical!’
Make sure your lighting is suitably festive with our candles in seasonal colours, which will look all the more enticing housed in minimalist glass holders.
And as for yourself…
‘Remember, your guests are coming to celebrate with you! Build in proper time (more than 30 minutes) to put yourself together before they arrive,’ says Augusta. ‘You’ll set the tone for the evening – if you’re in a relaxed and celebratory mood, your guests will follow suit.’
To make your life as easy as possible, ‘keeping the food relatively low impact means you can be present for the party,’ advises Augusta. ‘Remember, hiring a bartender is always a good idea and adding a little mistletoe to your door is a fail-safe ice breaker for guests.’
‘As for what to wear, my recommendation is to have fun and do not underdress. Dress with bells on and no one will be disappointed! It’s the perfect time to wear that look hanging in your closet that otherwise feels a bit much.’
Augusta’s mini gift guide
Still stuck for what to give your loved ones this year? Look no further than Augusta’s specially curated selection.
‘This green gingham tablecloth is a seasonless go to! The perfect gift.’
‘This playful, statement vase is a personal favourite.’
‘Everyone needs white dinnerware, but that does not mean it needs to be basic. The scallop on these plates is charming.’
‘Useful and beautiful… what’s not to love? Spice up your kitchen counters and everyday cheese boards with these.’
‘I can think of several croissant-loving friends who would be thrilled to receive this cheeky gem!’
‘An all-time great gift. Fill with your favourite collections – fruits, candies, sea shells, or whatever you like. It’s even a pretty display piece by itself.’