Family time, love, and most importantly – food! Christmas dinners are all about enjoying the company of your loved ones, but if you want everyone to feel relaxed and happy, you’ve got to set the right atmosphere. Are you hosting a dinner and hope to make it an unforgettable experience that everyone will remember for years to come? Then we’re here to help you out. For some tips and tricks on how mums can make the best of Christmas and help everyone bond, here?s what you can do.
Make a playlist
There’s something very warm and close about singing Christmas carols with your children, and if you want a traditional experience, you can play things like We Wish You a Merry Christmas and Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Bear in mind that while kids usually love these tunes, adults might quickly get sick of them, especially since all the radios keep putting them on repeat. It’s not a bad idea to include something for the older crowd; for example, some jazzy covers of popular Christmas songs, 60s golden hits, or maybe even some old-school rock ‘n’ roll. As a mum, you know your family best, and you can easily guess their taste. Make sure that the music is light and soothing during the dinner itself, you only need it to set the atmosphere and relax people enough to get them talking. After the dinner is done, you can play the truly popular hits.
Prepare small gifts
Before the big gifts that are waiting underneath the Christmas tree, it’s not a bad idea to prepare tiny party favours that you can hand out as soon as your guests arrive. These gifts truly don’t have to be anything expensive. In fact, you can actually ask your children to help you with this bit. Have them make everyone a festive little greeting card or a Christmas craft, and you’ll put a smile on everyone’s faces. This is a very nice gesture and it also allows your kids to get creative and have a little fun, and it gives you a way to entertain them during those long winter nights.
If you don’t think your kids would enjoy something like this or you wish to give people something different, consider personalised mugs. Every family member can get a decorative mug with their own name on it, and that way they’ll take some of that Christmas spirit home with them.
Set the table like a pro
The table is the whole focus on the evening because that’s where you’ll spend most of the time. It needs to look inviting and festive, so if you want to make everything classy, start by finding a pretty centrepiece. A tall candelabra or a flower arrangement in vivid Christmas colours is a good choice. After that, it’s time to bring out your best china. Find a set of Wedgwood tableware that will make the table look elegant and refined, and you’ll make everyone feel like they’re dining at some expensive restaurant while still retaining that familiar atmosphere. Another thing you can do is bring in a smaller Christmas tree to the dining room. It will look pretty if you decorate it subtly and put it in a corner, and it can give people the sense of holiday cheer whenever they look at it.
Bring in the secret family recipe
The time for you to really shine is when you start bringing out the food. This is the moment when traditions are passed on or created because you get to use the family recipe. Whether it’s a special turkey roast or a delicious apple pie, this food is the thing people will remember long after the holidays are over. Look into your grandma’s recipe book to find something delicious, or start making your own traditions by preparing something unique and tasty. Let other family members help you cook to lighten the load, and decorate every meal to make it look festive.
Think of after-dinner activities
Dinner is usually made even sweeter if you let everyone know you have some fun planned for later. Once everyone’s belly is full of delicious food and drinks, it’s time to bond even further by playing games and engaging in some Christmas-themed activities. A movie is definitely a great option, but you can also use the fact that you’re all together to play a relaxing board game like Dixit, Magic Maze, or Codenames. If you like to get competitive you can find a lot of other games to try. Ask the kids to help you clear the dining room table, bring out the game of your choice, and sip on hot drinks and snack on cookies as you all have fun together.
And of course, let your family feel the love in the room. Welcome them all with an open heart, give them hugs, and enjoy your Christmas together.
Stella van Lane is a mother and mental health advocate based in Sydney. She spends her free time blogging. Stella is in love with coffee, chocolate, music, books and good vibes. Her top interests are health, yoga, meditation and interior design. She enjoys helping other people by sharing her experience and knowledge.