Christmas highlights at A. L. Thompson’s

With Christmas on the horizon, inevitably entertaining at home will be top of the list for many people’s social calendars. Whether its pre-Christmas drinkies at a friend’s apartment or full-blown Christmas Day dinner with the family, all too often the joy of yuletide is coupled with the frantic lead up to Dec. 25.

The coming together of the in-laws (or outlaws) of the family, surprise guests and a mountain of cooking and cleaning means there is very little opportunity to enjoy the gift of the season.

Fret not; there may be a solution close at hand! Here are some ways to make entertaining at home a more enjoyable aspect of this joyous holiday time.

Drinks

Your home becomes the center of attention during December so be prepared and organize your pantry so that all your entertaining necessities are never more than a hop and a skip away. Buy wine and beer in bulk and stock up on mineral water so you’re able to greet friends and family with a cool refreshing drink on arrival. If you have herbs handy, a sprig of mint and a slice of lemon perk up any boring drink. It’s the little things!

Do a charcuterie

Keep a cheese plate ready to serve, in the fridge. Add fresh grapes, figs and pepper jelly and voila! A scrumptious nibble is served. Allow the cheese to come to room temperature just before serving. Serve with melba toast and walnuts for a decadent yet delightfully easy entertaining option.

The right tools for the job

It doesn’t matter how prepared you are in the food and drink department if you don’t have the best tools in your kitchen to make the most off your ingredients.

You’ll find all of these top-brand products at A. L. Thompson’s to make your season genuinely merry and bright.

Keurig Plus

For all the coffee fanatics out there, this is a must to have on your Christmas list. Whether you are entertaining at home or just love coffee, the Keurig Plus will satisfy your caffeine fix. Boasting a 70-ounce reservoir, strength and temperature controls and customizable settings, this wonderful piece of technology can produce your perfect cup of coffee. The large touch display makes it easier than ever to input your desired selection and if that hasn’t sold you, it can brew a cup, mug or carafe of the black stuff to solve all your early morning headaches.

Nutri Ninja Pro

If you’re already worried about keeping up your strength in December or the sluggish January blues, why not counteract with a healthy injection of fruit and veg in the morning? Whip up a smoothie or juice in the Nutri Ninja Pro which creates smooth beverages packed with vitamins and fiber to keep your body in tip top condition and stop you reaching for chocolate in the afternoon. This popular kitchen device comes with 900-watt motor base to blitz that wholesome goodness into liquid elixirs of health. It comes with 18-ounce and 24-ounce cups and a 30-page recipe inspiration guide if you need help coming up with delicious combos.

Strahl beverageware

With drinks flowing, there are sure to be a few breakages (accidental, of course). Stock up on Strahl beverageware for an extremely safe and cost-effective alternative to glass. This high-quality range combines the strength of polycarbonate, with the elegant look and feel of glass. The Strahl collection includes everything from wine and Champagne flutes to goblets and beer glasses and even pitchers and shot glasses for stylish entertaining anywhere. All Strahl products are hand-finished to remove manufacturing join lines, giving the clarity and elegance of glass. Why not pre-chill them in either the refrigerator or the freezer before serving up a refreshing wine or cocktail? With superior insulation properties, Strahl keeps beverages at optimal drinking temperature for longer.

Kitchen Aid Artisan and Artisan Mini

An ideal gift for any avid baker or cook, the KitchenAid Artisan is a kitchen tool for life. Available in over 20 colors to best match your kitchen scheme, this countertop appliance will stand out as the culinary center of your kitchen. With over 10 different attachments, you can make everything from fresh pasta to burgers, veggie noodles, ice cream and more. It boasts a 5-quart stainless steel bowl with comfortable handle, giving you enough capacity to mix up to 9 dozen cookies, 4 loaves of bread or 7 pounds of mashed potatoes in a single batch. Perfect for Christmas Day dinner!

If your kitchen just isn’t big enough to house this beast, then opt for the KitchenAid Artisan Mini. This 3.5-quart bowl can mix up to 5 dozen cookies, a loaf of bread, a batch of guacamole, pulled pork and more. It’s powerful enough for nearly any task or recipe, whether you’re stirring wet and dry ingredients together, kneading bread dough or whipping cream. It may be small, but it is fierce.

Armed with these top tips and ideas, enjoy a stunning and stress-free holiday season with your friends and family.