The run-up to Christmas, for me, used to be all about going to parties (many of them work-related). These days, because Oscarâ€™s birthday falls in December (and because this year I am taking over Christmas dinner for the first time), itâ€™s the month in which I turn into a slightly crazed event planner. Itâ€™s a job I force upon myself, but I canâ€™t help it – I love planning celebrations and the rush of seeing my ideas work out (I don’t like to think about the alternative…). In case you’re planning any parties this festive season, here are my tips for making sure a party goes to plan.
And lists of your lists. I normally need a master list of everything I plan to cook at the party, then spin-off lists telling me what I need to buy for each recipe, when I need to make each thing, and exactly when I need to defrost/cook/assemble everything on the day. The same goes for entertainment, decorations and music (and, to some extent, guests). For birthdays, I also make lists of who brought which present so that I can send thank you cards afterwards.
Allow time for the odd catastrophe
This year, I decorated Oscarâ€™s fire engine birthday cake and left it in a cake box in the coldest room of the house (the hall)… only to discover the next day that it had been turned on its side by my husband searching for his keys. Luckily I had a spare hour to touch up the cake before our guests arrived – and maybe it wouldnâ€™t even have happened if I had been slightly less organised about the whole thingâ€¦ but I can guarantee something else unforeseen would have tried to rain on the parade.