If ever there was a time to shine, it's Christmas – from the twinkly star on the top of the tree and the snowglobe on the side, to the celebratory bubbly waiting to kick-start the festivities and the crowd-pleasing feast.
But what if it's all down to you to put the fizz into the merrymaking, provide the crackers and keep your uncles from fighting? Hosting can be a tough gig, especially if it's your first time running Christmas.
Well, fear not. We've chatted with Santa's little helpers and made a list to help you do all the trimmings to a T...
1. Set the scene
Make sure the table setting looks fabulously festive (a red table runner always screams Crimbo), the string of Christmas tree lights is burning bright and you've moved all the greeting cards to a cosy corner – there's nothing more tiresome than having them knocked over.
2. Safety first with fragrance
Scented candles are a godsend when it comes to atmosphere, and who doesn't love the waft of winter spice and cinnamon gently filling the air? But if you're expecting little ones, make sure they're at shoulder height.
3. Have a spare vase to hand
You've probably filled every vessel with red berries and amaryllis, but chances are you'll be gifted a bunch of flowers – which you'll need to deal with quickly if you're short on time and space.
4. Make sure you have enough stemware and tableware
Do a head count and make sure you have three plates per person (starters, mains, pud) and enough serving dishes for all the sides.
Whether it's white or red, all vino should be served in a large wine glass and the same goes for fizz to solve the age-old dilemma of whether you have enough flutes. Have rock glasses for spirits and another large wine glass for welcome drinks.
5. Prep as much as you can the night before
While you'll probably be wanting to curl up on the sofa with a glass of Baileys and a mince pie, you should be in the kitchen peeling the potatoes and Brussels sprouts, sorting through the sauces, crisps and dips and checking the cheeseboard. Feel free to rope in family members!
6. Buy the basics
You've ticked all the yummy fun bits off the shopping list, stocked up on canapes and have enough Quality Street to sweeten the in-laws, but what about the black garbage bags for all the non-recyclable waste? Paper towels for spills? And enough ice to build a snowman?
7. Consider clever fridge management
No doubt the fridge is full and shelves are bowing under the weight of all the deliciousness that's about to unfold. And the door so crammed, it can't chill any more bottles. But this is when the bathtub is your best friend... fill it with those bags of ice (save some behind for cocktails) and all your beer, wines and sparkle will be chilled to perfection.
8. Nominate a second host
Whether it's your partner or best mate, someone needs to be overseeing the party while you're busying yourself in the kitchen. Leave them in charge of topping up the drinks, Christmas tunes and holding fort – chances are they'll be the busy-body who needs to be held at bay from telling you how to get the crispiest roast tatties or tastiest gravy. Put them to good use.
9. Don't scrimp on the drinks and food
The worst thing a host can do, especially with the booze, is run short, so always over cater. Better to have too much than too little and there's plenty of time in that no man's land between Christmas and New Year to make the most of any leftovers.
10. Have a festive pinny to hand
Even with the best will in the world, you probably won't have time to change before dinner is served. And when you finally emerge to rub shoulders with everyone else's Christmas jumpers and raise a glass to a beautiful spread, at least you'll be comforted by a reindeer apron or flutter of snowflakes.
11. Be prepared for the unexpected
Chances are you'll be landed with an unexpected guest (think extra chair), someone who's scoffed too much Xmas pud and needs to lie down (make sure the bed's made and nicely dressed) or you forget to turn the oven on... HO HO HO!