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How to Host Your Holiday Dinner Gathering

Castlery   |   Oct 31, 2023

It’s the time of the year again for friends and family to come together to celebrate the holiday season. If you’ve decided to host a dinner gathering, creating the perfect dinner setup can be a challenge.

We’ve compiled a list of essential tips to ensure your holiday dinner gathering goes smoothly and you create a memorable experience for everyone.

8 tips for your hosting a dinner gathering

Dine worry-free with performance fabric

Oftentimes, cleaning up after the dinner gathering can make you think twice about hosting over the holidays. And, constantly reminding your guests to ‘be careful’ won’t make them feel at ease either.

That said, opt for performance fabric chairs for the dining space. Performance fabrics are designed to be resistant to spills and stains, making it much easier to clean up accidents quickly.

A performance fabric dining chair beside a Christmas tree. The Simone Performance Bouclé Chair is upholstered in spill-resistant fabric.

When a spill happens on performance fabric, the liquid beads up on the surface instead of being absorbed - giving you some time to clean it up. This means that if a glass of red wine tips over or gravy splatters, you can address it without lasting damage to your chairs.

Decorate the table

A beautifully set table elevates the dining room and creates a memorable experience for your guests. Invest in quality dinnerware, glassware, and cutlery. Consider using seasonal tablecloths and napkins to add a touch of holiday charm to the dining table. Placemats can also add a nice touch to the table setting - and make cleaning much easier!

Placing cards with your guests' names can make everyone feel special and help create a more organised seating arrangement.

Recommended read: How to Create a Tablescape for Christmas

Make room for guests with an extendable table

When it comes to accommodating varying numbers of guests for your holiday dinner gathering, an extendable dining table is a versatile solution.

These tables can be extended to seat more people, and when folded, are compact for everyday use.

A wooden dining table by a Christmas tree with rattan chairs. Opt for an extendable dining table such as the Seb Extendable Dining Table that can be extended to accommodate guests.

For smaller spaces, an extendable table can also be a space-saving option. You won't need a large dining table that takes up valuable room all year round. Instead, you can have a compact table that expands when needed.

Delegate and accept help

You might feel that as the host, you have to shoulder all the responsibility - from food prep to decorating.

But, don’t be afraid to delegate tasks or accept offers of help from your guests! For example, if cooking isn’t your best trait, suggest having a potluck where all guests bring one dish. You could also have your guests set up the table or decorate the Christmas tree.

Not only does this make your workload more manageable, but it can also make your guests feel more involved and part of the celebration.

Have a self-serve area in the dining space

A self-serve area in the dining room, often set up with a sideboard or buffet cabinet, is a smart move for any holiday dinner gathering.

A self-serve area allows guests to help themselves to drinks, appetisers, or desserts, reducing the need for you to continuously circulate the dining area. It frees you up to enjoy more time with your loved ones and ensures that everyone can access what they need conveniently.

A sideboard used as a makeshift bar. The Lily Sideboard is used as a makeshift bar in the dining area. Picture credits: @cozyspaceinterior and @hausonthehorizon.

These furniture pieces also offer practical storage space for your dinnerware, glassware, and serving dishes. You can keep extra utensils, napkins, and plates handy for quick replacements during the meal.

Invest in flexible seating options

The more flexible your seating options are, the easier it will be for you to accommodate your friends and family during gatherings.

Opt for dining benches that can be used for both indoor and outdoor dining. Benches can seat more people as opposed to individual dining chairs. Have some foldable chairs on the side as well just in case there are additional guests.

Go alfresco

Whether you have a spacious backyard or a small balcony, hosting your dinner outdoors can be a great way to enjoy the freshness of the outdoors.

Opt for teak or metal dining tables as they are naturally more durable outdoor materials and are able to withstand the elements. Hang up some string lights to help set the mood, and incorporate some blankets to keep it cosy.

A teak dining table set with fall decorations. The Rio Teak Dining Table Set is made from sturdy Indonesian teak. Picture credits: @charlotteshappyhome

If you have a grill or outdoor kitchen, turn your dinner gathering into an outdoor barbeque.

Think outside the dining room

Aside from the dining area, the living room is probably worth your attention too. Guests are likely to gravitate towards your sofa and comfy chairs before and after your meal, so make sure your lounge is ready to impress.

Create a focal point with a stylish coffee table and ensure ample seating space with a sectional sofa. Add rugs to the space to make it cosy and inviting. Don’t forget to include throws and cushions to brighten up the seating area and make the living room as comfortable as possible.

A living room with a large area rug on the floor and a wooden coffee table beside the fireplace. @careyushome adds a touch of modernity to her Christmas-ready home with her Andre Coffee Table.

Hosting a dinner gathering for the holidays can be a joyful and fulfilling experience when approached with careful planning, attention to detail, and a welcoming spirit. Your efforts in creating a warm and inviting atmosphere, along with delicious food and thoughtful accommodations, will surely make this holiday season unforgettable for you and your guests. So, go ahead, host your holiday dinner gathering, and make memories that will last a lifetime.

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