Congratulations! This year it’s your turn to host the Christmas feast. Maybe it’s brunch or dinner, or something in between. Whatever meal you are in charge of, you have lots of organising to do. The starting point is the Christmas invitations and ensuring you give your guests plenty of notice.
Top Christmas invitation tips
Plan your guest list well in advance. Are you inviting family or are you including friends as well? Remember, lots of people use this time of year to catch up with family members, so if you are hoping to have friends join you, you may need to be flexible with the time you have your party. Check with them before you extend the invite. You may need to switch brunch to dinner if it is important to you that a close friend joins you on the day.
While you can often plan events round the needs of your little one, this may not be possible at Christmas. If you can schedule your planned meal around them, that is great. However you will probably need to juggle baby’s naps so they don’t have a complete meltdown just as you are about to serve the main course.
When it comes to Christmas invitations, earlier is better. Send them out at least a month in advance. People’s diaries tend to get booked very quickly when it comes to the festive season and remember that, if you have family or friends that you’d like to catch up with, you need to book them early on.
You can really indulge your creativity when it comes to Christmas invitations. Whether you stick with the traditional green and red or go for silver and white, there are plenty of options. You can make your own using beautiful craft paper, or order some online to suit the theme you’ve chosen for your Christmas party.
Information to include on the Christmas invitations
The invitees name/s: It is better to invite someone by name, rather than saying, the Family Smith, say, John, Susan and baby Michael, for example.
The date of the party: Yes, you know that Christmas lunch is on the 25th – but rather state the obvious.
The time of the party: Remember if you can fit it in around your little one’s schedule that’s great, but that isn’t always possible. It’s usually best just to put a start time and leave off a finishing time when it comes to Christmas celebrations. If you are serving a hot meal, make it clear so people know that they need to make the effort to arrive on time.
The address of the party: Close family will usually know this, but for friends who may not have seen you in a while it is useful to include this information.
If you’ve decided on a braai or a more informal style of party, then you can nominate a nearby park as a venue instead – the zoo might be a good place for a picnic or even a nearby museum or theme park. It’s a really practical touch to cut and paste a little map of directions on to the back of the invitation for guests to use. It will help them to avoid getting lost.
Remember that if you do choose to host the Christmas party at an outdoor venue, it is always worth having an alternative indoor venue available as well – those summer showers might just pick Christmas day to come around! This will usually be at your home so plan for the worst-case scenario throughout. Have a back-up plan in mind and state this clearly on the invitation. For instance: “In case of bad weather on the day, the Christmas party will be held at 45 Smith Street instead.”
If you do have lots of young children attending your party, it is sometimes fun to have “Santa” make a guest appearance. It’s worth alerting your guests on the invitation if this is going to occur, so they can prepare their children for his arrival.
A RSVP number or email address: Make it clear on the Christmas invitation by which date you need your invitees to respond by. You have lots of menu planning and food preparation ahead of you. It is important to know numbers so that you can plan how much food to order and what you will need in the way of beverages, not to mention seating around the dinner table.
A brief description: Whether you are hosting a five-course meal, a champagne brunch, or a bring and braai, it is always polite to let your invitees know what to expect when they arrive. You can always add a decorative touch to your invitations that help to highlight what your guests can look forward to. Also, if you’ve decided to make your day a specific colour combo – maybe you could hint that if they choose to, the colours to wear for that day would be red and white. But also state that it isn’t compulsory. You want your guests to enjoy the day – not worry about wardrobe!
Any other relevant information: This is the chance to add in any small details that guests might find helpful. If you have a swimming pool that guests can use then let them know this on the invitation. Alternatively, if you’re hosting an outdoor event, let guests know so they know to wear sunscreen and bring hats. Also, if it is at another venue, let them know whether they can bring their own alcohol / cold drinks or if a cash bar will be available.