Getting Guest Ready For Christmas

Author: Lolly Gautier-Ollerenshaw

I’m guessing that there’s a fair few of you lovelies, given the comments shared at the bottom of our festive posts these last few days, that are ‘hosting’ Christmas this year. I know that Charlotte, Lauren and Lottie for example are all welcoming in excess of 10 people each this coming weekend. Oh the pressure! Granted this will be the case for me next December as we’ll be well and truly encamped in our new home but for now I can rest easy knowing that it’s only drinks that I’ve got to turn my hand to (as mentioned in this post) this year.

Regardless I know only too well that there are a plethora of last minute ‘oh gosh have I got enough of this?’ and ‘now where did I put that?’ and ‘where the hell am I going to put Uncle Fred’ thoughts. The below then is hopefully a handy list of tips to help with the stresses of Christmas Day to enable you to glide through as gracefully as a swan even if you’re peddling like billy-o beneath the surface.


It’s likely a combination of long journeys for some family members combined with an excess of alcohol will mean that you’ll have a few extra people staying over in spare rooms, on sofa beds or topping and tailing with the kids. Usually it’s just for the one night so there’s no need to invest in copious amounts of bedding that will probably only see the light of day again next Christmas. That said you’ll still need enough pillows and blankets to make sure everyone stays both comfortable and warm whilst they sleep off the day’s indulgences. If you don’t quite have enough then it’s worth asking if your nearest and dearest wouldn’t mind bringing the odd pillow/duvet with them and then maybe using the opportunity to purchase that set of bedlinen that you’ve had your eye on all year…you know, just in case.

Vases & Candles

Apart from the gorgeous smell emanating from the Christmas tree, I like to welcome guests with some beautifully fragrant blooms which I’ve ‘forced’ for the table. I particularly love using old pots and unusual containers to add interest but these galvanised pots from Garden Trading are equally as lovely too. On the odd occasion where they haven’t bloomed in time I’ve resorted to diffusers to try to mask the smell of post Sprout consumption…you know what I mean 😉

One other item I always forget about until the last minute is candles. And by this I mean dinner candles, not those of the scented variety (although it’s worth stocking up on those too!). Granted it’s not absolutely essential and if the worse comes to the worse then you can always pop on the overhead light but I do love the atmosphere and elegance that comes with dining by candlelight. Those opting for a coppery colour themed table will probably love this design from Cox & Cox which have coincidentally just gone into the sale.

Plates & Cutlery & Glassware

Take a moment to tot up how many people you have for dinner and whether you do indeed have the equivalent number of plates/bowls/glasses and cutlery. It’s always worth over estimating just in case of any breakages, unexpected guests or even because you can’t quite be arsed to wash up that bowl that’s been used to house the parsnips but which is now needed so that Aunt Nellie can have her figgy pudding.

Plain tumblers are especially useful and can be used for anything from long cocktails to tap water. Plus even if you buy too many, they’re cheap enough to not break the bank and you know that they’ll still be in use for years to come.

I naughtily use this time of year to indulge in a casserole dish or serving platter which I justify to Ste that we absolutely must have otherwise what would we serve up the carrots in… My favourite range has to be the recognisable Sophie Conran off-white design but I’m also tempted by this Spode Christmas Tree range for nostalgic reasons as it reminds me of being small.

Final Festive Touches

If you haven’t the time to go out foraging for bits of greenery to nestle in nooks and crannies or to drape over fireplaces then why not cheat and buy a pre-made garland instead. I looked in so many shops but it seems that most have sold out this year. That said The White Company still have stock of their Eucalyptus and Winterberry garland which is now in the sale at 30% off. Made from a collection of firs, sprigs and branches and frosted pinecones this would look very nice laid on a mantlepiece and would literally take five minutes to set up before your guests start pouring through the door.

It’s also worth filling up small decorative bowls with woodland inspired pot pourri which not only look the part but spread the essence of Christmas. My preference is for mercury silver bowls which reflect candlelight beautifully.

Last Minute Stocking Fillers

Charlotte shared a wonderful post yesterday on last minute gifts for your girls (or yourself!) and Lottie also doubled up on the present action over on our sister blog Rock My Family with tonnes of ideas on what to buy everyone from your next door neighbour to grandparents which you can read here. It’s definitely worth checking out these two posts if you’re lacking inspiration on the last minute stocking filler count.

And that’s about it. You should be well and truly set for Christmas now unless that is we’ve forgotten something too. How many of you are hosting Christmas this year? Are you nervous? Excited? Or are you a pro with several dinners under your belt already…why not tell us all about it in the comments box below.

  • Sophie Conran Casserole Dish
  • John Lewis Pot Pourri
  • Gardening Trading Galvanised Planter
  • The White Company Garland
  • Cox & Cox Candles
  • Spode Christmas Dish
  • Duralex Tumbler
  • The White Company Diffusers
Author: Lolly
Lolly is a self-professed frustrated florist and styling maven with an endless passion for all things pretty.
Follow Lolly on instagram @graceandgable
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6 thoughts on “Getting Guest Ready For Christmas

  1. I really enjoy reading RMS but I hope you won’t mind me giving a little feedback that doesn’t *directly* relate to this article but is rather prompted by it.

    I feel like recently I have seen the editorial direction going a bit too heavy on affiliated links articles. Much more so than on RMF, which I also read occasionally. I appreciate that you have to make your money (as do we all!), but I think that lots of people (myself included) might say that a reason they return to the blog is to read and share experiences and stories on our lives/loves/homes/etc., rather than as a shopping experience. I know that there’s not none of the more personal stuff over here on RMS but it just seems that the balance has shifted a bit of late towards more link based articles…

    Perhaps I’m wrong but I also just feel like I can tell when the article has been written around how to fit certain links in, rather than the content coming first (usually the articles with very few comments below the line) which for me kind of spoils it – but maybe that’s just me as I’m a suspicious type and I really dislike being indirectly marketed to!! As I said, I do love the blog and I don’t mean to criticize/offend, but I also don’t subscribe to the ‘positive comments only’ thing so I thought I might as well speak my mind. With best wishes, and apologies for the essay. J xx

    1. Hi Jenni – first things first thank you so much for your feedback. We do really appreciate constructive comments and I’ll take your thoughts away with me to a meeting that we’re having tomorrow morning to discuss between the members of the RMS team. This article was written from a content first perspective given the popularity of a previous post where we shared our top tips for a stress free Christmas so I’m sorry if you feel that this wasn’t the case. We’re very conscious about managing the balance relating to affiliate linked articles and have taken everything you’ve said on board. Thank you again for sharing xx

      1. Actually…I agree with this. I love the RM Ltd blogs, and I hadn’t quite realised it until I saw Jenni’s comment, but there has been a shift towards more products being linked. I would personally welcome a return to the focus on the content of the article (eg, above, how to prepare for guests at xmas) and have the products as secondary piece. Not to say you have to get rid of them altogether, but perhaps shift the focus slightly. I agree with Jenni that RMF does this better than RMS generally (although there’s a bit of a shift happening there too). I understand that RMS really is more *about* shopping and lifestyle so maybe the criticism is unfair. And I still love reading every day. But I come for the content, not the links (I live in Australia so rarely buy anything from the UK sites anyway!).

      2. Thanks for the reply Lolly, I had a major guilt trip after writing this that I was being a meanie so I’m glad you’ve hopefully not taken it as me just being mean! Agree totally that this article is content first one – you write beautifully. J xx

  2. Such fab ideas especially the pot pourri which I had totally forgotten about!! (My mum loved it in the 90s so it’s due a comeback!!) Oh and thanks for alerting me to the white company sale. I love to buy the decorations half price to use for next year. (It comes around so fast anyway!)

    Happy xmas lovely
    Rachie xo

  3. Bit late as its Boxing Day! But I have the plain Sophie Conran dinnerware which we use every day and have just invested in the coordinating Christmas designs in the dinner plate and side plate just to jazz up Decembers dinners!!

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