Rock around the Christmas tree

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So, 2020 might not be the tinsel-decorated year any of us hoped for, but what feels like the longest year in history is now coming to an end.

And with the news that families can meet up over Christmas, many of us may now be in the festive party spirit and in the mood for letting your hair down!

Here, at the East of England Co-op, we’d love to share our top tips for having a fabulous Christmas party – whether it’s just you and your immediate family, a larger, three-household ‘bubble’ gathering or you opt to play it safe with a virtual knees-up.

Party food

Prepare for the perfect party by stocking up on some nosh-tastic nibbles.

Spring into the spirit of things with the Co-op’s Vegetarian or Duck Spring Rolls or chill out on the party decking with some Chilli Cheese Bites – they’re bound to keep you warmed up!

Tempt yourself and your guests with Tempura Prawns, let it snow with Cauliflower Popcorn and Sweet Chilli Dip or hunker down in front of the fire with Halloumi Bites.

Gorge on breaded goujons or mellow to your favourite Christmas tunes with mouth-watering Mozzarella Sticks.

Pop into your local East of England Co-op store to pick up a great range of party food.

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Shake things up

Channel your inner Tom Cruise and bring the cocktail bar to your place.

Set up a DIY drinks rendezvous, decked out with fairy lights, faux fur throws and cushions and a chalkboard menu, and impress guests with your new-found cocktail making skills.

Seasonally themed cocktails, from Marshmallow Margaritas to Bauble Bloody Marys to Reindeer Daquiris, will go down a treat.

Check out our Sourced Locally producers for some cracking cocktail ingredients.

And don’t forget non-alcohol versions for the kids!

Hot chocolate bar

If you’re hosting a daytime party or the little helpers outnumber the Santas, this one might be for you.

All you need is a nice, colourful display of mugs, plates and festive adornments with packets of your favourite hot cocoa mix.

Then add whipped cream and marshmallows or chocolate chips, candy canes, wafers, sweet sauces, sprinkles and cinnamon (maybe not all at once!)

For adults only, pop a cheeky brandy under the counter to give your hot chocolate a bit of festive oomph!

Say cheese

Cheddar, Parmesan, Brie, or a slice of Stinking Bishop…all washed down with a glass of wine, Port, Prosecco or Champagne – what’s not to love about this celebratory combo?

Host a cheese and wine party – you don’t have to be a wine connoisseur for your guests to enjoy a platter of crackers and some cheesy delights.

Or if you want to really 'push the boat out', why not wheel out the cheese fondu set? Bread, apples, pears, or even leftover roast potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower make perfect dipping companions.

Pop into your local East of England Co-op store to get all the ingredients – and don’t forget paper plates, napkins and other party essentials.

Game on

Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without some traditional party games, would it?

Charades, cards, a board game, Christmas movie trivia, marshmallow ‘jenga’ or a Zoom pop quiz will while away the festive hours.

Try a Christmas carol challenge – get everyone to sit in a circle and the first person starts by singing a line from a carol with the person next to them delivering the next line and so on. The first person to mess up has to do a forfeit.

Or you can play ‘guess the ornament’ – this one will need a bit of simple planning. Count how many baubles and other decorations you put on your tree and make a note of it. Ask your guests to guess the number and whoever is closest wins a surprise gift.

Whatever the party theme, when it’s over, dig out those Christmas PJs, kick back and look forward to a Silent Night’s sleep. You’ve more than earned it.