The youngest member of The Snug is Panther (the cat), 15 years old with the odd patch of grey setting in. Therefore Christmas is now a much more ‘grown up’ affair with human ages ranging from 20 years to nearly 80.  As the host or hostess it can be quite a responsibility to keep everyone suitably entertained over such a range. With this in mind here are a few things that can be slotted in here and there  without making the day too  regimented and people can join in or not as they feel fit:-

  • Buy crackers with racing characters inside.  These are always good for a laugh in between courses.  We keep them year after year and use nail varnish to paint numbers or initials on, so that people can have their favourites again! Who will win – the sprout or the reindeer?
  • Small puzzles are also handy for at the table amusement, such as the metal interlinked type.  These can create a competitive element too for little outlay.
  • Buy a game that all the family can join in.  The choice of game will very much depend on your family make-up.  Physical games such as Butt Head (entails the throwing of soft balls onto another player’s head, who is wearing a Velcro point scoring hat), can be a winner especially after a few drinks for some families, whereas a traditional board game can be the order of the day for others.
  • Go traditional by asking your guests to bring a game that evokes special memories for them.  My in-laws had games stashed away from my husband’s childhood which provoked great competitiveness between the siblings!
  • Suggest that each person brings a couple of photos or find a few photos of Christmases past yourself.  This is a lovely conversation starter, especially if you have lost someone dear and can look back on happy times with them.
  • Pop some books out on the coffee table (especially if you’ve received new ones for Christmas) so that people can have a quiet moment and a browse.  Another good conversation starter.
  • Keep a pack of playing cards to hand and if you are like us a book with how to play various card games.
  • Have gentle background music on – plan in advance. Any lulls are then comfortable and relaxing, rather than awkward.
  • Make sure there are enough throws/blankets around for anyone who feels the cold (like me!).  This way, everyone can enjoy the day at their own comfortable temperature.
  • Check out anything special on TV that may be a must watch for your gathering and prepare drinks and nibbles to coincide.

I hope these ideas have helped you with your Christmas and New Year’s gatherings.  Wishing you a wonderful time with your loved ones.  Keep on making those special memories xxxx