I remember seeing Anthea Turner on her Perfect Housewife programme saying that the key to entertaining folks is "prepare, prepare, prepare". That was a light bulb moment as I realised that I had tended to leave things to the last minute. Not any more and I now find cooking for extended family and friends much easier.
I don't do anything particularly new, I don't buy new decorations. I just do what I usually do, so it is familiar and with no fuss - hopefully!
In the Summer I saw some novelty paper napkins. They have £10 notes printed all over them!
I no longer use my linen napkins as it is less work afterwards :) I do use linen table cloths though!
So my novelty napkins are new !!
I only do two courses and dessert is a selection tray for people to choose and help themselves - less work - Christmas pudding, mince pies, profiteroles with jugs of cream, custard and ice cream.
Whilst I clear the first course we usually have a quiz of some sort which Alex has devised. I don't feel pressured then that folks are waiting as they are usually happily distracted!!
Copious amounts of tea and after dinner mints in front of the fire is the norm with more board games and tv.
I still have to keep telling myself not to fret - it is only a glorified Sunday roast after all.
So today all is quiet and calm and we are having a relaxing day together; resting but ready to roll!
Merry Christmas everyone; may your dinner be tasty and your minds calm!