BIG READ: Put the sparkle into your own Christmas partyÂ

At long last, everyone's favourite month of the year has made its triumphant return.

Saturday, 2nd June 2018, 11:55 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 10:32 am

The twinkly lights have been switched on, the decorations are going up and we're all wrapping up warm as the frosty mornings settle in.

For one month only, we are able to all put aside any differences and quarrels that we have with one another, and come together to celebrate Christmas.

When it comes to the day itself, everyone celebrates in their own different ways, but almost everyone will, at some point this month, either go to or organise a Christmas party.

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Some people will take the easy option of going to the pub, or booking a restaurant.

But why not up the ante this year, and organise a party in the comfort of your own home?

The advantages of doing so are obvious - you are in complete control of the music, the food, even the people who walk through the door.

But it can go wrong. 

Cheryl Gibbs knows how to throw the perfect Christmas party. Here she is at last year's extravaganza, far left, with sister-in-law Victoria Reed, husband Matt and brother-in-law Luke Kingston

The News spoke to to self-confessed party animals who love to thrown a bash over the festive period. 

their tables are groaning with mountains of delicious food, enough booze to satisfy a battalion and there's tinsel everywhere. 

The News' nostalgia editor Bob Hind loves to throw a party any time of year.

The stylish author particularly loves Christmas, an opportunity to fill his Havant home with family and friends.

Bob believes it's not only a brilliant way of bringing everyone together, but also very easy to organise. But the key is planning.

He says: '˜We used to do parties every single year, which was wonderful.

'In fact, we would usually do two parties - one for friends and one for family.

'˜There would be about a dozen people that turned up to each one, so we had a good crowd.

'˜If I'm honest, it would only take a couple of days to get everything sorted for it.

'I used to be in the meat trade so I would grab a good turkey and put a chicken inside of it '“ that always tends to go down well.

'˜So long as you prepare all the food a couple of days in advance, it is fairly easy to put it all together.

'˜Make sure you know how many people are coming so that you have enough food.

And don't be afraid to make a little too much; it's better than running out of everything!

'˜I must say, I do enjoy getting into the spirit of Christmas - my tree is already up and decorated, and at these parties I'll usually have my chefs hat on as well.'

When it comes to Christmas, columnist for The News Cheryl Gibbs believes that the party is one of the highlights of the year.

She says: '˜I think I prefer to host parties rather than simply attend them, but my husband isn't always on board with that idea.

'˜We tend to invite our family and friends all in one go, so it really is lovely to have everyone come together like that.

'˜It's quite a big affair on the calendar, because I enjoy organising things like this for people and having so many people under one roof for the evening is truly special.'

According to Cheryl, there are quite a few things to consider, and get right, for a Christmas party to be a success.

She says: '˜When I host a party, the first thing I think about is the guestlist. It is incredibly important because you need to get people's dietary requirements right - and vegetarians do eat a lot more than cheese.

'˜Also, you need to think about what kind of party you will be hosting. I am a big fan of serving tapas-style food rather than having a full-on meal with all the trimmings, for instance. But since that means people won't be sat down, you need to include other things to keep your guests entertained.

'˜I try to prepare a lot of the food from scratch, because I don't get to host these sorts of events too often. It needs to be special for everyone, so adding that personal touch is rather important to me.'

Music and games are an essential part of entertaining guests throughout the evening. According to Cheryl, sometimes going down the cheesy route can create a fun atmosphere for the party.

She says: '˜I do love a bit of cheesy Christmas music - I think it's almost essential for a Christmas party, much to my husband's dismay!

'˜At the end of the day, the Christmas season only comes around once a year, so I think the Christmas music kind of has to come out. Plus, everyone loves a good song and dance anyway, so it really gets everyone up and about.'

Cheryl says that the key to a successful Christmas party is to make sure your guests are topped up with some good drinks.

She says: '˜To me, the big secret is making sure you have enough booze. I can't stress just how important it is to have enough alcohol stocked - and you can do it on the cheap.

'˜We do invite people to bring their own alcohol, but you have to make sure you have a good amount of red wine and prosecco, because it would be a bit of a disaster if you were to run out of the essentials like that.'