Stylish Festive Entertaining – Top 10 Tips

Do you want to know the top 10 tips for stylish festive entertaining? Read on for ideas on festive food, decoration and entertaining to get the party started. I picked up these tips at an exclusive event organised by Delicious Magazine at BAFTA, the famous members-only film academy. Located at 195 Piccadilly, it’s played host to some of cinema’s biggest names. They had arranged a special Wintertide event and invited speakers who are specialists in luxury entertaining to give us ideas that you can easily replicate at home.

After a welcoming drink, we made our way into the David Lean Room and were welcomed by Karen Barnes, editor of Delicious Magazine. She introduced us to BAFTA 195 Piccadilly’s head chef, Anton Manganaro, who talked us through a great selection of festive canapes.

Speakers at BAFTA Delicious event

Karen Barnes, Delicious Magazine editor and Anton Manganaro, BAFTA 195


1 – Prepare as much as you can in advance, so that you spend as little time in the kitchen as possible and more time with your guests. Make a selection of canapes, such as pancetta ham rolls stuffed with dates, and serve with a fresh pesto sauce made from basil, olive oil and pine nuts. A slate or wood serving tray works really well.

Festive canapes - Luxury Columnist
2 – For food with a wow factor, get hold of some fresh edible flowers to decorate your starters. It’s best to grow your own and pick them on the day that you want to use them, although they can be purchased in some farmers’ markets or online. To prepare, shake the flowers to remove any dirt, wash in cold water, drain and let them air-dry on a paper towel.

Festive starter
3 – Serve bite sized desserts, they are almost guilt free! There are plenty of options, make chocolate brownies spiced with cinammon or pipe cream into ready made edible dessert cups and top with sprinkles.


Philippa Craddock, the acclaimed florist, then took to the stage to give us some fantastic decorating ideas using Winter foliage.

4 – Make your own decorations from fir cones. Just tie them with ribbon, spray them with a festive scent which you can easily find online, and hang on the tree or use to decorate gifts.

Scented fir cone
5 – Wreaths are also easy to make yourself – you can buy the wire base and cover with oranges, cinammon sticks and more fir cones or simply collect foliage and spray it gold. Eucalpytus leaves are particularly attractive.

Philippa Craddock - Luxury Columnist
6 – For a suitably festive table, go for gold or silver accents such as crackers or tea lights.

Festive table - Luxury Columnist

Our final speaker, Johnny Roxburgh, regaled us with tales of the celebrity parties that he has organised. His company, the Admirable Crichton, designs and organises luxury parties and he’s a wonderfully creative character.

7 – On the subject of tea lights, they can be a major cause of fires so follow these safety tips. Purchase an appropriate holder made specifically for small candles, keep the wick trimmed so that it is never more than half an inch long and do not place on a plastic surface or near any flammable object. Put out any candles when you leave the room and especially before bed, and keep out of the reach of children and pets.

8 – For stylish gift wrapping, purchase large round cardboard boxes online and top with a variety of items depending on the recipient. For children, you might add a teddy bear, Christmas lights or even a Christmas tree! Young children love getting a huge box, and may even prefer the box to what is inside!

Present packaging - Luxury Columnist
Or why not add some wooden toys, as you see here.

9 – Always welcome guests at the door, however busy you are. It will make them feel at home straight away.

10 – Once all the hard work is done, don’t forget to treat yourself to a glass of something sparkling, you’ve worked for it!

BAFTA champagne - Luxury Columnist
Thanks to the team at BAFTA and Delicious Magazine and our amazing speakers for such a wonderful evening. Hope your festivities go with as much of a bang. Do you have any festive tips of your own? I would love to hear them!

BAFTA 195 Piccadilly, London W1J 9LN

BAFTA 195 Piccadilly

  • Kelly Michelle

    Fabulous festive tips there Suze! xx

    • Thanks Kelly, glad you liked the tips. It can be such a hectic time of year!

  • Rafaela

    I always love your pics!! nice tips!!

    • Thanks Rafaela, glad you liked the photos – the food was almost too pretty to eat!

  • Lucy

    This looks wonderful, the floral and table decorations would have been my favourites. I also love the bite size desserts, I always struggle with knowing what to pick but with these you would not need to worry Lucy x

    • Thanks Lucy, the decorations were stunning and I’ve got a couple of the fir cones on my tree now!
      Have a great Christmas

  • Shikha (whywasteannualleave)

    This makes entertaining look so easy Suze!! I love the idea of the parma wrapped dates – 2 fabulous ingredients that I never would have thought I could pair up – I’m definitely going to try that one out (even if it ends up being just for me!!) 🙂

    • Thanks Shikha, the parma ham wrapped dates were delicious. Wishing you a lovely Christmas and I hope that we get to meet in 2015