The silly season is just about upon us and soon your family and friends will be filtering into your town, expecting to be wined, dined and entertained. And if you are going to have your mother and mother-in-law in the same house, you'll probably be reaching for your wine glass more than normal.
There's no need to spend hundreds of Rand on Ubers, taxis, meals out and expensive wine, however. Drinking, eating and being merry can be done in the privacy and comfort of your own home. Drinking can also be a lot more responsible when you're in a safe, happy environment that is close to your bedroom. You can also send the parents to bed at any time.
The trick is to know how to entertain responsibly, avoiding a trashed home, broken furniture and a mess that you can't face cleaning up.
With these smart tips, you can drink responsibly and have a festive season without having to walk out of the front door.
The first trick is to choose the right room in your home for entertaining over December and January. You don't want tipsy adults passing out on your brand new sofa, for example.
A spacious area is a good place to start, giving the rowdy more than enough room to dance, drink and dare each other to do silly things.
The location that you choose should have flooring that can be wiped clean. Opt for tiled or linoleum flooring. While carpets can be vacuumed, they can pick up stains especially if a glass of red wine ends up on the floor.
In the gorgeous summer months, opting for an outside space is also a good idea. Kids can play on the lawn, adults can break up the drinking by swimming or taking turns to braai and the mess stays far away from your beautiful sofa cushions.
When it comes to furniture, you want to keep your antique pieces and expensive tables far, far away.
Opt for cheaper, plastic furniture that can be wiped clean no matter what is spilled and won't break the bank if it needs to be replaced. Pack your favourite vases, ornaments and accessories into a cupboard and lock it. This way they will be safe from any clumsy mums and dithering dads.
If you're expecting a lot of people, you can also choose to have smaller tables scattered around the room or in your outside space with more chairs, creating more space for people to sit down. Move your larger tables into another room. This will also preserve and protect the beautiful wood or carefully painted surfaces of the larger tables.
Cover the table surfaces that you do have available for guests with plastic table cloths, avoiding stains and spills.
Decorating for the holiday season is the best part of entertaining at home. You can also find some great bargains, gorgeous accessories and reasonably priced candles to really make a space colourful and festive.
Colour is the first place to start so choose a theme. Are you going to go with a Christmas theme or are you going to do something totally different, such as pinks and blues? Once you know what colours you want you can get together some streamers, lanterns, candles, tablecloths and even some fun party hats. Mix and match your colours to make it bright and cheerful,
To protect your glasses, cutlery and crockery, buy some funky paper or plastic cups, plates and knives and forks. Add some colourful straws and a few cocktail umbrellas and you've go the perfect, functional decorations.
Keeping your valuable and most prized possessions safe and secure during a party or over the entire silly season is all about smart storage. Utilise every shelf, cupboard and drawer in the house and use them to lock away everything from jewellery to your favourite glass bowl.
Gorgeous pieces of storage can also provide the perfect place to hold bottles of wine, snacks and other party goods. This shelf, by Allnatura, for example, can serve as wonderful shelving for all sorts of party pieces. Candles, bottles of alcohol and little plates of treats can be presented on the lower shelves while your books, ornaments and accessories can be stored out of reach on the higher shelves.
Storage also comes in the form of smart shelves and cupboards in under-utilised spaces, such as under stairs and beds. Vertical storage is also fantastic, taking up unused space on the walls.
Lighting makes or breaks a party and can add ambiance, romance and a bit of intrigue to any setting.
Softer lighting is always better so go for fairy lights, lanterns, candles and lamps. Avoid strong ceiling lights unless they dim—they'll leave your guests feeling self-conscious and like they're in a spotlight.
A great, cheap party trick is to line the garden with brown paper bags. Fill them with sand and then plain, long candles. Light the candles as the sun sets and you'll be left with a garden filled with beautiful, little lights.
If you can get your hands on some fairy lights, wrap them around a tree or, if you're using the interior of your home, wind them around the curtain rods. Fairy lights add a soft, celebratory glow to any space.
Candles can be a little dangerous so make sure that if you use them, you've embedded them in sand. This way, if they're knocked over they will immediately be extinguished by the sand.
The festive season and a good party are not complete without a booming sound system. The music should reverberate throughout your home, getting even the shiest of guests up onto the dance floor.
Before you do anything, it's important to let your neighbours know that you'll be having a party. The best way to put a dampener on a fun night in is to have the police turn up to tell you to turn the music down. Write each of your neighbours a note to inform them of party and leave your phone number so they can get hold of you if they have any issues.
The next step is a music playlist that's going to get everyone in the groove. Use your iPod or you phone to put together an amazing playlist and hook it up to your sound system.
Lastly, your sound system should be one that you're proud of so invest in one that will last you a good few years.
This is the season to be jolly, within reason. Host your own party and keep it safe, fun and festive.