The festive season is upon us, and now is the perfect time to infuse your gatherings with a dash of sophistication and Christmas cheer.
If you’re recently retired or have moved to a retirement living apartment, well you may find that you have more time to channel into things you love – like hosting a memorable Christmas party! Rather than dashing from place to place and surrendering to festive stress, you can now enjoy time spent planning and prepping – a brilliant upshot of the freedom from downsizing to a more suitable property. You’ll have more time to curate a harmonious blend of delightful cocktails, rustle up some delectable canapés, and consider how to foster an ambiance for joy – and connection.
Here are some Christmas party tips with cocktails and canapes to suit all, and ideas to help you craft a sensational soirée that will leave your guests suitably impressed.
A FORMAL INVITATION
Kick things off how you mean to go on by sending formal (ideally printed) invitations. It’s so much more thoughtful than a simple text and will give your guests a flavour of what’s to come. You could make these yourself in line with your theme or have them printed. There are some lovely hand-crafted ideas on Etsy, so why not take a browse and include them with your Christmas cards this year.
DREAM FESTIVE DECOR
Firstly, set the scene with elegant decorations – fill the space with twinkling lights, lush greenery, and tasteful ornaments – you can read our blog on downsizing and up styling your Christmas decorations if you need inspiration on how to dress a smaller space.
A beautifully adorned tree and festive centrepieces can instantly elevate the ambiance, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere.
THE SCENT OF CHRISTMAS
Consider all the senses when you’re setting the stage – scented candles or a diffuser can infuse the room and embrace your guests with welcoming fragrance. Or why not try your hand at a seasonal simmer pot – a superb, natural, DIY way to fill your room with cosy scent. Pop traditionally festive ingredients like cinnamon, cloves, oranges, cranberries, and seasonal herbs in a pan and simmer them on the hob or slow cooker to permeate the room with an all-encompassing Christmas glow.
“BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE”
Welcome guests into the warmth. Now that you have a smaller space, and with the exceptional thermal insulation of a Burghley Retirement Living apartment, it’s easier to keep it at a suitable temperature to welcome guests in from the cold. There’s nothing worse than shivering at a party where somebody has neglected to turn the heating on. Keep your party stage at an ambient heat to suit your dress code.
COCKTAIL CORNER: SIGNATURE SERVES
Create a signature cocktail or two for the occasion. Classics like mulled wine, eggnog, or a festive twist on a martini can delight your guests. Consider offering a non-alcoholic option, like a sparkling cranberry mocktail, to cater to all preferences and ensure the designated drivers have some refreshing ad fulfilling options.
You could create some mixology magic and set up a DIY cocktail station. Provide various spirits, mixers, and garnishes along with recipe cards. This interactive element allows guests to craft their own cocktails, adding a fun and personalised touch.
If you’d prefer to be the cocktail master, then here are some of our favourites from cocktail and recipe experts:
Christmas Spiced Negroni
This classic cocktail gets its festive flavour from infusing gin with the essence of Christmas, which you can do a few days before. Find the full recipe here:
Sweet tooth? Star baker? Combine confectionary creation with mixology by adorning this creamy cocktail with homemade gingerbread cookies for the sweetest of Christmas treats.
Non-alcoholic Buttered Rum
There’s a whole host of inspiration for cocktails (sans alcohol) from Town & Country Magazine, but by far the most indulgent mocktail is the non-alcoholic buttered rum. Just divine.
CANAPÉS GALORE: BITE-SIZED DELIGHTS
Canapes are perfect for catering to a range of different tastes without over facing guests and keeping the night light and carefree. If it’s all you plan for your menu, then it’s best to let guests now ahead of time that there won’t be a substantial dinner. From classic cheese and crackers to more adventurous options like smoked salmon blinis or fig and goat cheese crostini, offer an array of bite-sized delights.
Focus on presentation. Arrange the canapés on elegant platters or tiered trays to create an enticing display. Incorporate seasonal elements like cranberries, pomegranate seeds, or fresh herbs to add a festive touch to your culinary spread. You can place these on coffee tables and side tables around the room, so people can mix and mingle informally.
OUR FAVOURITE CANAPÉ INSPIRATION
Beetroot Tacos with Goat’s Cheese
These mini beetroot tacos from Olive Magazine add a pop of vibrant festive colour to your party and they’re the perfect veggie treat for the non-carnivores.
Pancetta Cheddar and Cranberry Croquettes
These golden crispy croquettes are an indulgent bite of festive bliss. Yet they’re so simple to put together and can be frozen until you’re ready to use them. We’re all for time saving cheats! Especially when they taste this good.
Orange Curd Mini Tarts
Canapes don’t have to stay in the realms of the savoury. Try these mini tarts with citrus flavours enriched with vanilla mascarpone to wow those who can’t resist something sweet to round off the finger buffet.
Prefer to cheat? Ok, so if you are not the world’s greatest cook, you can still host a canape celebration. Many leading supermarkets will stock nibbles and light bites, so order online and have them delivered to your retirement apartment. Cook, and decant onto pretty plates. The key here is presentation. A sprinkle of icing sugar over a tower of mini mince pies makes it look so much more inviting. And, much more homemade (shh….we wont tell).
MEMORIES IN THE MAKING
In essence, the key to a successful Christmas party is to enjoy the process. So often you may have spent the festive season in a whirlwind of panic, tending to everyone’s needs but your own. Now it’s time to relax and enjoy the party curation process, as well as the end result. It’s the only surefire way to create cherished memories that will linger long after the last sip is taken, and the final bite enjoyed.
And one of the benefits of a retirement living apartment – well two actually – is that you can host your party in the communal lounge when the RSVPs outgrow your apartment. And your neighbours can all be invited, with only a few footsteps home after all those cocktails.
Cheers to a truly unforgettable Christmas gathering!