How to Make the Perfect Christmas Dinner Party

Dinners parties are a joy – a chance to invite over your closest friends and family, to try your hand at some devilishly good cooking and to enjoy a glass of wine or two as the night winds down. As Christmas is almost upon us and the pandemic continues to try to stop festive plans, any opportunity to celebrate with loved ones (however small the party may be) is even more important to cherish. 

But when planning any dinner party, there’s an awful lot to think about. Whatever you have in mind, it’s always best to get the main things organised in advance so that everything goes smoothly.

With the festive season just around the corner, cosy dinner parties are in full swing and there’s masses of ideas around how to make them a great success; read on to find some of the most common tips and recommendations to make these parties enjoyable and memorable for everyone.

Know your audience

The best way to ensure your dinner party goes smoothly is to get a good idea of what your audience likes, dislikes, can and can’t eat. This may be your Christmas dinner party, but more often than not, it’s your guest’s satisfaction levels that makes all the difference.

The most important thing is dietary requirements. Nothing derails a dinner party faster than someone who has an allergic reaction to something you’ve cooked. Also, remember to check if there are any vegans or vegetarians on the guestlist – it’s worth cooking a separate meal without meat or animal products if there are, your guests will always appreciate it.

Play it safe

You may feel like your dinner party is your time to shine as a chef. While this may be the case, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to try a new, bold and complex dish that you’ve never cooked before.

Cooking something relatively straightforward, but cooking it really well, is the best way to get your guests on your side. You can always unleash your creativity through other avenues, such as adventurous presentation.

Give your canapes and aperitifs a Christmas twist

Rather than sticking with the classic prosecco/champagne to welcome your guests, consider switching to a Christmas cocktail! This could be a refreshing bucks fizz to cleanse the palette, a warming mulled wine or a Sloe Gin Fizz: 50ml sloe gin, 25ml lemon juice and 25ml of sugar syrup, shaken with ice then topped with soda water.

For your canapes, think of classic Christmas foods – mini mince pies and pigs in blankets. If you want to wow your guests with something delicious but easy to make, try wrapping small pieces of brie and cranberry sauce in filo pastry, then bake them in the oven at 220C for 10 minutes.

Pick out some appropriate music

One of the most important pillars of any good dinner party is the mood. Setting a relaxed atmosphere is something that all good environments do, so you’ll want to try to imitate them as much as you can.

A great way to do this is to pick out the right music. You may be tempted to just put on any Christmas playlist, which would make sense as this is a Christmas dinner party after all. However, upbeat Christmas classics do have the potential for overpowering conversations. Consider choosing a more relaxed, subtle Christmas playlist – music streaming services already have an abundance of playlists to choose from.

Decorations. Decorations. Decorations.

We would hope that your house already looks wintery and festive with Christmas decorations at the time of your Christmas dinner party, but here are some extra ideas to bring some festive cheer through decorations. Make sure your dining table is set up with Christmas crackers, festive garlands, and some fairy lights to help create a glowing atmosphere.

Consider wowing your guests with some DIY decorations – stick some candy canes together to create a place card holder, which also serves as an after-dinner mint!

Plan it out

No one wants to come to a dinner party, sit down for a meal and then just depart afterwards. No, they want to be wined and dined, entertained, and engaged by the host as they chat and eat the night away. That might sound like a lot of work, but it isn’t – as long as you plan ahead.

After dinner invite your guests for some entertainment in the lounge – be it a Christmas quiz, board games or simple conversation before they head home. Don’t forget the after-dinner cocktail though – create a Christmas twist on the classic Espresso Martini by adding a splash of Baileys.

One final tip is that a tasteful and modern home can have such an impact on your event – if you’re looking to buy a new property, whether it’s a well-appointed flat or a spacious contemporary house, Berkeley Group can help. Explore the complete collection of property listings at

Eve Crabtree

Eve Crabtree is a journalist with a passion for interior design. She keeps up to date with the latest trends in the interior industry and regularly tests her hand at crafting and redecorating during her spare time.