Christmas Day > A good time for happy families

The endless socialising which is an intrinsic part of Christmas is one of the best parts of the festive season, but organising something to suit everyone can be difficult. A little forward planning can reveal a superb range of venues catering for every imaginable celebration, family get-togethers or friends’ reunions.

There is often so much socialising going on at work that we leave important family arrangements till last – because everyone assumes that family and closest friends will always be there.

This year, it’s time to put those closest to you at the top of your list, and decide how you’re going to enjoy your Christmas get-together as never before. Think about who will be involved, and how you can make sure the venue and event are fun for everyone.

Maybe this is the perfect time to forget about cooking Christmas dinner, and revel in someone else doing the work – and the dishes – by taking your family out for the meal. If nothing else, it will put you in the good books of whoever is normally responsible for getting this feast on the table.

More and more venues now open on Christmas Day, offering superb menus and a chance to relax and be pampered in lovely surroundings, with all the family made welcome. If you have a favourite place for eating out it’s worth checking early if they are doing Christmas dinner as the best places can be swiftly booked up. Traditional, hearty Scottish food is always popular, and this is one occasion which caters for every age.

When you book, ensure staff are aware of the ages of your children, and every effort will be made to get everyone comfortably settled to enjoy the meal.

The aim in offering Christmas dinner is to ensure customers are given excellent meals in a relaxed setting, and it is amazing how even the youngest customers respond to a little luxury. Most young children adore dressing up and going out to dinner, and despite parental misgivings, can quickly be inspired by lovely surroundings and enchanted by delicious food.

From an early age children enjoy the responsibility of behaving well while dining out, and celebrations such as Christmas add an edge of excitement to which everyone responds.

Organising social events over the festive season has all-round appeal, apart from all the usual office and works nights out which are such a feature of the winter season.

It’s a super way to forget the bad weather blues, and it’s an ideal time to make proper contact, rather than just scribbling notes on Christmas cards.

Even if you can’t organise everyone to go out for Christmas dinner, or your idea of bliss is spending the entire day in pyjamas and slippers, there are lots of other opportunities for getting friends together. Once the festivities are over, January can feel lifeless and dreary, so think ahead and plan a big night out then to remind everyone of the Christmas spirit.

When it comes to large gatherings, disparity in ages can cause problems in getting the ideal night organised, but the simplest way to get it right is to plan everything around a large meal, and then let everyone have a say in what they want to do afterwards. It’s always worth checking if a restaurant has any club links, as combining the two could secure a discount or even free entry in some cases.

Many venues make Christmas nights out a really big thing, with entertainment and a DJ as part of the traditional dining experience.

Karaoke is popular with all ages and makes a brilliant atmosphere, as well as the chance to discover hidden depths in apparently sedate maiden aunts and shy cousins.

There’s something about Christmas which can bring out the devil in all of us. All year you work away, impressing colleagues and bosses with your dedication to work, your steady, no-nonsense approach and your ambitions for a satisfying career.

Then the festive season creeps up and the party person takes over. Get out there and unleash this lively persona, and encourage all your workmates and friends to do likewise, but don’t neglect your nearest and dearest.

Christmas can undoubtedly be a stressful and tiring time, but it’s usually easier to put on a cheerful front for your colleagues rather than close family and friends.

This can backfire, though, when you realise you’ll be spending the holiday with people whose heads you’ve bitten off rather too often during December.

So plan ahead this year and make Christmas perfect for everyone. Make your best party night out a family special and start a new trend.