Monday 11 December 2023

Flawless Festivities in Smaller Spaces - Part 2

Part 2 – Staging in the silly season!

After reading Flawless Festivities Part 1, you’ve hopefully organised the main practicalities in advance so like any great general, you’re ready for action. However my best advice to any host is before you do a thing, pour yourself a glass of your choice and put on your favourite music. This will take away any hosting jitters, allow you to collect your thoughts and help you get into the swing of things.

Now let’s get cracking! Hopefully you’ve prepared any food possible in advance, so now take care of food that needs preparing early and put drinks in the fridge or an esky with ice so they’ll be lovely and cold for when the guests arrive. I do love an alcoholic punch to get everyone in the mood so you may want to prepare this and put get it cooling sooner rather than later.

And now for the fun part – Staging! Take a deep breath and take in your space. With larger groups, you’ll obviously need to use as much area as you have at your disposal. You’ve hopefully already sorted the table, chairs and festive touches, so now work out if you want to go buffet style for serving. I highly recommend this as it leaves you far freer to enjoy the occasion than if you are busy serving up for your guests and keeps the centre of the table free for festive tableware.

The kitchen benchtop is a great spot to set up your smorgasbord or you may own a buffet. Now start preparing your servery by putting out non-perishable food and plates. Next work out where to set up the bar. If there is not enough space on the kitchen benchtop, find a table large enough to hold drinks and glasses. Place it in an accessible spot that won’t be in the way of your guests. Place red wine and glasses on top.

Now to the table and chairs. If you have a large or extendable dining table, put it in the middle of the room, which may involve moving couches to the wall. If your table’s a bit on the small side, extend it with a foldout as per Part 1. It’s summer, so if you have a balcony, and are short on interior space, open the sliding doors to their max to accommodate your spread.


Next, and before you go placing the chairs, dress and set your table. You’ve worked out your theme, now apply it! If you are joining two tables together, a tablecloth creates a seamless transition. If you’ve gone for buffet style serving, you have plenty of room to populate the middle with scented candlesticks, flowers/pinecones/fir tree branches/crackers – whatever you’ve chosen for the occasion. Next lay down the cutlery and you’re ready to place the chairs. And a final staging hint - where there is any tension, the clever use of place cards is not to be underestimated. Separate any blood rivals at opposite ends of the table.

Finally finish cooking/preparing last minute menu items and you’re ready to get dressed up and welcome your tribe! So however you choose to celebrate the silly season, we wish you a wonderful hosting experience and the happiest and healthiest of holidays.

Best wishes from the Cramer Crew

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