Need some party-planning prep in a pinch this holiday season? Canada Bay Club’s functions team has the answers!

Christmas is a jolly time of year, but it can also be one of the most overwhelming times for a lot of people. Especially if, among all the end-of-year celebrations, you still haven’t planned your office party. Family gathering? Or neighbourhood Christmas festivities? Well, read on for all the information you need, direct from our functions team.

Q: I’ve left my party to the last minute, what are the must-haves when it comes to styling?

A: “Always aim to create an inviting space for guests. Ambient lighting is a good way to achieve this. Candles are wonderful and don’t cost the earth, but white unscented candles are the best when hosting. Also, don’t be afraid to use your best china, silverware and crystal even if you’re dining outside – it will make your event feel special.”

Q: What’s your go-to table decoration that works for every occasion?

A: “Flowers are the obvious choice. They don’t need to be expensive – try flowers or greenery from your own garden. But be sure to keep your arrangement low so guests can still see each other. If flowers aren’t an option, seasonal fruit on a platter or in a vase also make a beautiful table decoration. Use one kind of fruit such as lemons, oranges or apples for consistent colour.”

Q: It’s summer – what should I have on the menu? How many courses should I serve?

A: “Informal and relaxed menu choices with fresh, good-quality ingredients are perfect for this time of year. A three-course menu, using tried-and-tested recipes, which can be pre-prepared, will work well. Start with a share plate, then for the main course try a fresh take on the traditional BBQ with gourmet meat selections and tasty homemade salads. Keep your dessert light. A vibrant fruit platter with seasonal fruits such as berries, mangos and peaches is quick and delicious. Also, make extra food so you don’t worry about running out.”

Q: What’s the perfect number of guests for a good night?

A: “Eight to twelve guests makes for an intimate gathering with plenty of conversation.”

Q: How do you choose the best style of music for the crowd?

A: “Opt for upbeat music for a light and happy mood and select your tunes in the spirit of the theme of your event. Mixing up genres will help appeal to all tastes, but keep the volume at a comfortable level so guests can still hold a conversation.”

Q: How do I choose the wine or beverages to suit everyone’s taste? One white? One red? Bubbles? Beer?

A: “Ask ahead of time for people’s preferences and also keep a bottle of Champagne on hand and a bottle of something sparkly and non-alcoholic for non-drinkers. If you’re unsure, focus on pairing your beverages with the food you’re serving.”