eBay elf-ette, who loves a Christmas party. If it's sparkly I want it :) Making toys between 9am-6pm.
The festive season is upon us, and what better a way to celebrate than with a glitzy festive party? I love throwing parties for friends, and Christmas is the perfect opportunity to make our get-togethers extra special. Show off your hosting credentials with these little tricks and tips - they’re all super quick and easy ways to upgrade your bash on a budget, leaving you plenty of time to get ready (which we all know is the most important part!)
Shaken, Not Stirred
Playing hostess can be expensive, but all it takes is a little preparation to keep the budget in check. A week before the party, send out emails asking everyone to contribute to a kitty, and use it to buy spirits, mixers and garnishes for cocktail making! It’s more fun and personal than getting guests to bring a bottle, and it means you won’t all be lumbered with the dubious looking drinks that have been lurking in people’s cupboards since last Christmas.
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If cocktails aren't your thing and you fancy a winter warmer instead, you could always create your own DIY hot chocolate station. Set up a table with cups, spoons and a pre-mixed urn of hot chocolate, and then get creative with your additions. Baileys and Cointreau are always popular, as well as the obvious marshmallows, flakes and whipped cream. Your guests get to have fun being creative and making them just the way they like them.
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For the ultimate perfect hostess vibe, the devil is in the detail. Making sure your house smells Christmassy might sound excessive, but your guests will love it - and it’s so easy! Throw cloves, cinnamon, rosemary, vanilla - basically anything you can get your hands on - in a big pot with water and leave it to simmer while you get everything else ready.
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Pick a Mix
A week or so before your bash, send an email (actually, maybe just send one big email - you don’t want to earn a rep as a diva!) and ask your guests to pick a few songs each (not just Christmas ones). Stick them on a playlist, and let shuffle take care of the rest. Everyone’s happy, and you’re not subjected to your amateur DJ mate’s iPod takeover hour. Or your own secret obsession with Nineties boybands being subject to unwanted scrutiny.
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Deck the Halls
Step away from the tacky tinsel and novelty decs - the best Christmas part décor is not only sparkly and sophisticated, it’s usually stuff that you can use all year round. Think twinkly lights on copper wire, flickering candles and warm metallic accessories. Remember though, in the festive period, more is more - go wild!
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Glitter-dipped accessories are the quickest way to luxe up your Christmas party on a budget. Add a touch of festive sparkle to champagne flutes and bottles, or candles and decorations. Want to be really popular with your guests? Hand them out at the end of the night as party favours.
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Let it Snow
One more for décor, because it’s important. If you’re on a really tight budget, nothing makes prettier DIY decs than paper doilies. Sure, nobody knows what they’re actually for (apart from your Gran, maybe?) but they make gorgeous snowflakes. Fold them, snip them, unfold them, and string them up like bunting, or scatter them until your heart’s content. Easy peasy.
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Let Me Take a Selfie
Your guests will love finding their best angle with a DIY photobooth. A hanging swathe of sparkly fabric and Christmas props is all you need to turn an unused corner into the ultimate selfie station. Pop up a sign with your own personal Instagram hashtag (hello, #cassieschristmas15) and use it to piece together your night the morning after!
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Cook Up a Feast
Can’t cook, won’t cook? Don’t slave away in the kitchen all day to end up with paltry looking appetisers that nobody will touch. Make a big batch of something warming and wintery in your slow cooker, keep it simmering on low throughout the night and let your guests help themselves. Zero cleanup, zero fuss - and more time for the fun stuff!
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On the Big Screen
Fancy a bit of home cinema? If you’ve got a blank wall, a smart phone, a magnifying glass and a couple of household bits and bobs, you can basically DIY a projector - there are tonnes of YouTube tutorials that can show you how. Perfect for setting the mood with a festive movie - although if you just want to watch Mariah frolicking in the snow to All I Want for Christmas on repeat, I think that’s perfectly acceptable, too.
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My Guide to Micro Gifting: Creating Perfect Little Presents for Friends
With Christmas parties come friends and that means presents. But how can you give something special without spending three month's wages in two weeks? I like to find small gifts and then turn them into bespoke treats with a little crafty trick or two. Here's how I make my presents sparkle.