Want to entertain your guests effortlessly over the festive season? We’ve highlighted four fuss-free ways to make the most of your home this winter, from a fun happy hour to a magical al fresco evening and a cosy afternoon tea, plus tips for tablescaping.


Four festive entertaining ideas

Host a festive happy hour

Toast the season with your friends and family in the comfort of your home. You can create your own at-home bar with a few essentials. Start with a tailored capsule collection, choosing a few key spirits to suit your taste. We recommend a good bourbon for whisky sours and old fashioneds, plus a sweet and dry vermouth for negronis and martinis, and a versatile aperitif such as Cynar or Pampelle for unusual spritzes. Infuse your own festive extras to have on hand to effortlessly shake up stunning festive cocktails, for example vanilla pod vodka, cacao nib rye whisky and coffee syrup.

Invest in a drinks cabinet that works both as a stylish piece of furniture, and opens into a practical drinks emporium, with space to display pretty bottles (we love Italicus bergamot aperitif and Procera African gin), as well as a glass rack to store champagne coupes, cocktail glasses and whisky tumblers to really impress. Want to take your at-home bar to the next level? These Southbury grey velvet bar stools are super comfy and stylish, but can be tucked away under the counter neatly. Or check out a selection of bar stools here.

Don’t forget bar snacks – whip up a batch of maple-glazed sausage blinis, gin and tonic cake bites, or your choice of Christmas canapés to pair with your cocktails for an indulgent happy hour at home.

Indulge in afternoon tea

Invite guests over for a relaxed, festive afternoon tea or morning coffee catch up. Make a batch of bakes such as cinnamon-laced buns, stollen and snowball madeleines to fill your home with inviting aromas. Transform your living space with this striking coffee table, complete with drawers for decluttering. Display your bakes on glamorous mirrored art deco trays, or more rustic rattan trays, adorn your table and sideboards with stylish Christmas decorations (we love these hanging mirrored stars and glass Christmas trees), and choose some coffee table books for your guests to leaf through while you’re preparing the tea or coffee. Once guests are settled, prepare a batch of fresh tea or coffee to the table (check out our pick of the best speciality beans here link to article) on a rustic tray and tuck in to your sweet winter feast.

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Snuggle up outside

Create the cosiest outdoor space, whether you have a garden, terrace or balcony, and invite guests over for a magical festive evening. Assemble your own hot chocolate station, with liqueurs (try our Baileys hot chocolate recipe) and spices such as cardamom and cinnamon to lace your drink. Load a tray with toppings including whipped cream, candy canes, mini marshmallows and chocolate flakes for guests to create their own twists. Wrap up warm in Christmassy reindeer blankets or these stylish, cosy throws. Make sure you cast a warming glow with candles and lanterns to twinkle into the night.

Smoky, boozy hot chocolate

Throw a festive dinner party

Tablescaping has become a popular dining trend, and Christmas is a perfect time to get started. Invite guests over for a festive dinner party and choose your theme, whether that’s deep, sumptuous colours, Scandinavian chic or rustic, natural vibes. Bring the magic of a winter wonderland indoors with a subtly stylish wreath and create your own centrepieces in painted glass vases (take your pick from Barker & Stonehouse’s extensive selection here). For added festive cheer, this table-top Christmas tree is a compact option that you can bring out every year. If you want to make the most of your space, invest in a versatile extending dining table that can be handily adapted from every day use to entertaining. Ensure to add a magical festive glow with plenty of candles. Check out our menu ideas, with our pick of easy-to-make Christmas starters and Christmas desserts.

A wooden table laid with white Christmas trees

Find more festive inspiration from Barker & Stonehouse here.

A black dining table

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