Light scented candles
The festive season is a great excuse for burning evocatively-scented candles laced with spice and mystery! The glow from a scented candle creates warmth, and of course a beautiful smelling room is a space you want to spend time in. If you choose several scents for different rooms, ensure they don’t clash.
Decorate your house
In my book, less is more and something subtle like a beautiful front door wreath will make a good impression. I also prefer natural foliage inside, as it has its own wonderful aroma, but there is some excellent faux product out there, and it does last! Decorations not only make your home more welcoming but also suggest that you’re in a celebratory mood. And of course, if possible get a real tree.
Light a fire
Especially if you have a real one. The crackling sound and the smell of the burning logs is just unbeatable. Fires represent light and hope, and that pretty much symbolises what Christmas means to a lot of people.
Ensure your guests feel relaxed and comfortable
It’s rather cliché to say, but make them feel at home. Nobody likes a house that feels like a show home rather than lived in, so actually, it doesn’t matter if the house isn’t spotless. If you’re relaxed then your guest will be too. Whether they are sleeping in the spare room or on a sofa bed, make sure they have plenty of bedding, and leave a towel and perhaps even a spare toothbrush for them just in case they forget to bring their own. Small touches like a simple posy of flowers, a magazine or an electric blanket are all effective – even a small tray with a night cap.
Consider your guests personal needs
For instance, they always say ‘make sure you have enough alcohol’ when you’re hosting a dinner party- particularly around Christmas time- but actually, in concentrating on this, one can often overlook the matter of non-alcoholic drinks. Whether it’s a nice elderflower cordial, cranberry punch or simply a fresh fruit cocktail, make sure you have alternatives for those who don’t fancy the wine or champagne. Otherwise, you might have to resort to serving them water for the evening!
Be prepared for the unexpected
If you’re cooking, always make a little extra just in case somebody turns up with a plus one. Make sure your cellar is stocked with some good wine (and non-alcoholic drinks!) and cheese (which is great because it stays in date for a long time and makes a good nibble or supper). Finally, try your hardest not to look surprised if unexpected guests do turn up because you don’t want to make them feel unwelcome!