Christmas is a time for eating, drinking and getting much merrier than intended at the start of the evening, but with everyone else in the country having the same idea as you attempting a night out on the town can feel like more of an ordeal than an occasion. Avoid the crowds of office parties in restaurants and bars and eliminate the inevitable fight for a taxi at the end of the evening by hosting your own Christmas dinner party, the best (and most fun) solution to beating the Christmas rush. It's a great time of year for entertaining; supermarkets and food shops are rarely so tempting, with a variety of goodies on offer along with the great range of game, seafood and earthy vegetables which this season has to offer. With the right blend of Christmas cocktails, hearty mains and indulgent desserts – and did we already mention cocktails? – this collection of Christmas dinner party recipes will ensure your night is a success, whether you're catching up with far flung relatives and long lost friends or simply treating those closest to you.
A seafood starter is always an elegant way to begin a meal. Curing the fish, as Nathan Outlaw does in his Beetroot cured salmon recipe, can be a great option for a dinner party starter as most of the preparation is done a day or two in advance (leaving you more time with your guests!) If you'd rather prepare something hot Marcus Wareing's scallop starter recipe with curried parsnip purée and pomegranate has just the right blend of earthy and juicy flavours.
Game is fantastic option for a main course, being still very much in season at this time of year. Will Holland's Venison loin with juniper and clementine is a beautiful dish full of festive flavours, while Robert Thompson's Roasted breast of mallard is topped with a vibrant pumpkin soup.
To make your dinner party really special try spending a little more time on luxurious extras, such as canapés and petits fours. Oysters are in season during the cooler months, and their salty flavour pairs well with crisp cocktails – Bruno Loubet recommends serving his Oysters with beef and horseradish jelly alongside a Brunch Mary cocktail.