So here it is, merry Christmas (in the words of the Slade song, for those of us old enough to remember the Seventies). Family and friends are about to descend and if you’re the host, panic levels may be starting to soar around now. But take a deep breath – nothing beats drawing up a To Do list to help you feel on top of the situation, and checking you have enough of everything is a good place to start.
Months ago, when it seemed such a fun idea to invite all and sundry to lunch on 25th December, counting cutlery and chip-free china was probably the last thing on your mind but, if you find you’re short, it’s not too late to restock. Ditto chairs to go round the dining table – and is the table itself big enough to seat everyone comfortably, bearing in mind that you’re all likely to be sitting down around it for quite some time on Christmas Day?
A good-quality, stylish extending table could be a great investment that will see you breeze through many a social gathering in the years to come and you could still be lucky at this stage and find a store that can deliver in the nick of time.
A warm welcome awaits
Once the dining arrangements are in order, think about the sleeping spaces. Could it be the year to invest in a proper sofa bed rather than expecting Auntie to sleep on a lumpy Z-bed? Alternatively, if space is at a premium, we love the mirrored bed by Furl – when it’s not in use, it folds back up to become a huge wall mirror and takes up very little space.
Furl has been manufacturing storage beds in the UK since 2007, and these new wall beds are beautifully made, with sleek, elegant designs that would fit seamlessly into any style of home. They’re the perfect way to convert your home office into a temporary spare room, for example, and there’s a range of finishes available plus the option of including a headboard and lights. They’re available in single (total dimensions 106 x 208 x 35cm) up to super king (196 x 218 x 35cm) sizes, and with electronic or manual opening mechanisms.
It’s a lovely touch to add a little Christmas sparkle to a guest room, even if it’s just a string of fairy lights around the bed head or a twinkling LED tree (find a good range of these at Waitrose this year) on a dressing table. And even if you wouldn’t normally dream of having themed bed linen, Christmas is the time to indulge in a little kitsch – after all, that’s why Slade’s festive song is still played incessantly, over 40 years after it first came out! A yuletide duvet cover is sure to raise a smile when you show your guests into their room and we love the range from Studio, especially at such low prices.
Rather more sophisticated is the lovely range of luxury throws on offer from M&S this year – other people’s houses always feel colder than your own, somehow – so putting out extra covers like these on the beds to keep everyone toasty at night is always a good idea.
And talking of putting things out, don’t forget to have Christmas stockings at the ready for guests if they’re going to be waking up chez vous on Christmas morning – you don’t want them to think Santa has forgotten them! These gorgeous metallic stockings, in a Moroccan-inspired Taha’a print by Penelope Hope, will add a dash of opulence to the proceedings and will be keepsakes for many Christmasses to come. Each stocking, in white cotton, has a gold metallic geometric design on the front, the back is in smooth, heavy white cotton, and they’re padded on the front so that they hang beautifully from the mantlepiece.
Add a scattering of festive cushions in the living room, some Christmassy china and accessories for breakfast to get everyone in the mood on the big day (we love the Stag cushion and Robin worktop saver based on original watercolour paintings or pencil drawings by artist Sarah Boddy) and you’re good to go, but for one last thing… a welcoming drinks tray in a guest room is always well received. Why not let them help themselves to a festive tipple in style as they unpack with the lovely Bellagio champagne saucers and wine glasses – each priced £19.50 for two – available as part of M&S’ delightful festive range this year?