Shopping: Christmas with Carole Middleton

Throw the ultimate family get-together this festive season with these inspired ideas

Whether it’s your new family’s first Christmas or a Boxing Day soirée with friends, hosting guests over the festive period can be busy and exciting, but can induce stress at times, which is why forward-planning is key. Here are my tips for a fun and entertaining Christmas celebration: 

• If you’re having a houseful of guests, buffets are the easiest and quickest way to serve festive fare to a big group. Look for canapé recipes that you can make ahead of time, and set the tables with themed plates, napkins and cutlery – my picks this season are Nordic-inspired with metallic touches.

• Keep table decorations low and simple to save space. A few decorative Christmas trees, fishbowl vases filled with colourful baubles or metallic tealight holders adorned with flower heads are all great centrepiece ideas. Small accents, such as festive placecard holders and Christmas crackers finished with name labels, will fill space and add a personalised touch.

• Set up a separate drinks table in another area. Stock it with plenty of choices for both adults and little ones, as well as cocktail napkins and appropriate glassware,
or paper cups for your smaller guests.

• For an activity to suit all ages, set up a Christmas cookie decorating area. Buy or make some plain biscuits or gingerbread, and let the kids have fun icing their sweet treats.

• Don’t forget about Secret Santa! Ask your guests to put their gifts in a big sack on arrival and hand them out after dinner.

baby-christmas1. Decorative trees (pack of six), £7.99, 2. Monogram glass bauble, £3.50, 3. Meri Meri reindeer placecards, £9.99, 4. DIY snowflake balloons (set of three), £25, 5. Cotton lace-collar bodysuit, £24, knitted cardigan, £29.40, wool-blend tartan bloomers, £33.60, all 6. Paper plates (pack of eight), £2.99, 7. Knitted cotton sweater, from £19.60, 8. Paper foil cups (pack of eight), £3.99, 9. Meri Meri reindeer wall decoration, £16.99, 10. Christmas 2016 snow globe, £60, 11. ‘Happy’ teddy bear, £29.90, 12. Personalised wooden keepsake box, £149, 13. Carrs Silver sterling silver rattle, £119.99,