Depending on how you look at it, Christmas can either be an exceptionally exciting or incredibly overwhelming time of the year. If it’s the latter, we’re here to help. Why not get all of the associated stresses and strains out of the way early? So that by the time December rolls around (which seems to happen earlier and earlier every year), you’re not running around the shops like a headless turkey trying to finalise gifts and decorations.
One of the first questions to answer is this: where will Christmas be? It may take place at a family home, with friends at a restaurant, or perhaps you’re planning to catch the first flight out to the Caribbean. However, in the case that Christmas is at your house, you’ll want to get some essential preparation started sooner rather than later. The highlight of the day is, of course, Christmas lunch (or dinner), but don’t be fooled into thinking a well-cooked turkey will be the only test of your hosting skills. We’ve all seen the Nigella Lawson Christmas Specials, where she arises at 4.30am looking impossibly glamorous, ready to tick off some dinner preparations whilst the rest of the house is sound asleep. However, even in the early hours of the morning, it’s still far too late to begin wondering if your chairs will be comfortable enough for hours of games or if your table is large enough for the small army of guests you’ve invited. Take a look at our 5 Key Pieces For Your Dining Table post for a practical guide to becoming the hostess with the mostess.
The days are shorter. The nights are longer. The annual search for the hot water bottles has begun. In spite of, or perhaps because of this, there’s something utterly romantic about winter weather. That’s why so many Hollywood rom-coms revolve around a snow-dusted Central Park, with its glistening ice rink and abundance of steaming hot chocolates. Bringing the magic of a winter wonderland into your home makes the lack of sunshine much more bearable. It’s easy to achieve, with the simple addition of richly-coloured cushions, luxurious and tactile faux fur throws and LED candles by the hundred (at the very least).
If it’s not your turn to host the big day, it’s polite (and greatly appreciated) to bring a dish to the wonderful soul who is. Dishes that have a few key ingredients and a low preparation time are always the best option; that way when your guests arrive you can worry more about how many flutes of Champagne your Great Uncle Frederick has had and less about whether your puff pastry looks like a deflated party balloon.
The sooner you start your Christmas shopping, the sooner you’ll be thanking us for suggesting it. Buying gifts for family and friends is often a task we leave until the last minute, thinking we’ll just happen upon the perfect present right in time for the 25th. This does not, however, seem to happen very often. Write a list of all the people you’ll be buying for, it’s always best to be over-prepared as you don’t want to show up empty-handed if you’re given a gift yourself. We have plenty of special and unique gift options for all different people and prices, making sure that every present is greatly appreciated. For those who are particularly tricky to buy for, a gift card is a fantastic option as it gives the lucky recipient the flexibility to find something just right.
Thinking of a theme for your Christmas decorations earlier in the year is a wonderful way to ensure that your home doesn’t look like Santa’s grotto by the time December arrives. Pick a colour scheme, such as silver and white, or a key finish, perhaps predominantly glass or wood, to make each room feel festive and balanced. We have a delightful array of decorations, from an understated faux ivy garland to a unique antler-shaped candle holder as well as an entire story book (quite literally) of woodland Christmas characters.
Keep one eye on our OKA blog for the story of how our woodland characters nearly missed Christmas.