Simple pleasures best at Christmas

'Tis the season. But an online survey found 85 per cent of people just want more time with their family and friends rather than extravagant presents.

"At Christmas we’re all seeking to reconnect with the people who matter to us most", said Kristie Buchanan, CEO of online gift site RedBalloon, who conducted the survey.

And some of our famous faces are throwing parties to catch up with loved ones and spread some cheer.

X Factor judge Mel B will be entertaining international guests in Sydney for Christmas, and said it will be all about the music.

"When throwing a Christmas party make sure you have compiled a lengthy playlist so you don’t have to spend time playing DJ and you can enjoy time with friends and family" she said.

"I love Christmas soundtracks such as Christmas with the Rat Pack, Bing Crosbie and Frank Sinatra."
Erika Heynatz is presently starring in Legally Blonde the Musical also nominated a great playlist.

"Even the beautiful tones of Michael Buble can give you ear bleed if it's on repeat", she said.

Choreographer Matt Lee said the answer to a successful Christmas party is "Mariah Carey’s Christmas album and a dance floor to throw down your best moves".

For others it’s all about family. Singer Prinnie Stevens said her favourite Christmas memories were from her home in Tonga, with her 20-strong family.

"We all spend time eating, laughing, playing cards, singing and having fun. No real presents or TV - just us", she said.

For model and cricket WAG, Kyly Clarke, it’s all about preparation. "Set the table the day before, always allocate [food and drink] for more than you think, an make sure that cold ham is ready to go’’, she said.

Chef Luke Mangan agreed: "Keep it simple, have as much prepared as you can and on the day just add finishing touches."

Actress Toni Pearen enlists help. "Lots of Santa's Little Helpers to make preparation easy!" she said.

And the Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said: "I think the best preparation is to make sure you’re spending the day with people you really enjoy being around and to reach out to those in your community who are alone."

Denise Roberts, head of Screenwise acting school, said: "A successful Christmas party should always include the two M’s – mistletoe and martinis."

Planning a party? Experts reveal what works and what doesn't when it comes to cocktail parties in Shelly Horton's Hosting Confidential video.

The story Simple pleasures best at Christmas first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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