Plan the best Christmas in July party

You don't have to be a yulephile with a deep-seated love of Christmas to enjoy celebrating it twice a year. Planning a Chrissy party in July lets you capture those fun, festive feelings with the added bonus of a cold, winter backdrop. No idea where to start planning your Christmas in July party? From choosing a menu to fun activities and styling tips, we've got you covered.

What to eat

Planning a Christmas in July feast lets you indulge in dishes you may not usually make in December, due to the restrictions seasonal produce can bring and well, just being too damn hot for a roast. International cook, Sarah Todd says this is a great opportunity to serve guests rich, flavourful dishes. "Think about planning dishes that have big, robust flavours, are warming for guests and can be shared," she says.

Why not try a traditional roast dinner from Jamie Oliver with all the trimmings or a delicious baked ham from Nigella? Just remember, when it comes to Chrissy fare, it’s all about the sides. Think root veggiescrunchy roast potatoes, and Sarah's choice, an easy, especially festive butter (she uses Lurpak), that can be served over everything. "Finely chop the flavouring of your choice and whisk together with butter," she says. "Then, using cling wrap, roll into a log and re-set it in the fridge. Once set, use this to flavour your roast, or simply as a herb butter to top a cooked steak or even a piece of bread."

What to drink

It’s not a Christmas party without a few stiff drinks. Give your guests the royal treatment with some classic (cold weather) Christmas cocktails. We love a Grinch, Rudolpho or Christmas Cracker cocktails, all low-effort recipes with high-impact flavours! If you're looking for something a little toastier, mulled wine is the perfect pre-dinner tipple.

What to wear

Now is the perfect opportunity to embrace the cold, winter weather and keep warm with fluffy socks and cosy jumpers. While the shops aren't filled with festive decorations, rest assured you can still find plenty of Christmas-inspired attire online. Sites like ASOS and Next have a pretty impressive range for men and women at this time of year, and it's also a great opportunity to find a bargain, with most of these out-of-season items on sale. Score!

Decorating your space

How far you take the thematic décor is really up to you. Of course, you can go the whole hog and drag out the old Chrissy tree, lights and baubles. But if the thought of digging it out of storage pre-December doesn’t fill you with Christmas cheer, a few simple, festive touches like place settings, a centrepiece and some scented candles will get your guests in the mood. If you have the time and the flair, DIY decorations feel extra special and you can keep them for later in the year. Check out these creative Christmas table ideas for inspiration.

Fun activities 

What is a Christmas get-together without presents? Encourage all your guests to take part in a secret Santa gift exchange. You can do it the traditional way, whereby each person picks another to buy a gift for, or you could mix things up with a Yankee Swap. This is where guests bring a generic gift to the party, each person chooses a present to open and then the other guests have the opportunity to 'steal' the gifts they actually want.

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