10 of our favourite Christmas party traditions
owering grandly over its picturesque surroundings The Petersham, Richmond is a truly magical spot to celebrate in this Christmas. Given its bucolic surroundings, the hotel is only ten miles from central London and is easily accessible by public transport.
For private parties, why not enjoy an exquisite three-course festive menu in our elegant Terrace Suite or atmospheric Cellars? Alternatively, feast on a Christmas buffet and dance the night away to your very own DJ in said Cellars.
And with the festive season fast approaching, we cannot wait to welcome our guests and crack open the celebratory bubbles. In our giddy excitement, we’ve put together a list of our top ten favourite Christmas party traditions to look forward to.
1. Christmas crackers
It wouldn’t be a proper Christmas lunch or dinner without hearing that familiar ‘snap’ of the Christmas crackers breaking and chuckling at an embarrassingly awful joke donning a coloured paper hat.
A British tradition, Christmas crackers first evolved in the 1840s. A sweet maker, Tom Smith had started selling almond candies wrapped in decorative paper which included a small riddle or poem. Unfortunately for Tom, initially they didn’t sell too well!
One evening however, whilst sitting in front of a log fire, Tom decided it would be a fun idea to design his sweets with a crackle similar to the burning logs in the flames.
2. Mince pies
It can be said that a crumbly mince pie is the ultimate festive snack or post-Christmas lunch indulgence.
Originally mince pies were filled with meat such as lamb and were moulded into oval shapes to represent the manger that baby Jesus slept in. Between the 1600s and the 1800s, mince pies were even used as a status symbol at parties – pies created into elaborate shapes, such as stars and flowers meant that one could afford the finest and most expensive pastry chefs.
Today, they are a more simple affair, filled with dried fruit and spices and served round with a delicate dusting of sugar.
3. Roast turkey
For many, Christmas lunch or dinner wouldn’t be the same without an ample serving of tender turkey, crispy roast potatoes and even a portion of Brussel sprouts!
However, this hasn’t always been the case. Relatively new as a festive favourite, eating turkey on Christmas day was a luxury up until the 1950s when they became more widely available.
Today, however, the roast turkey is a staple on pretty much every festive menu. Find ours, rolled and stuffed, served with braised red cabbage, Brussel sprouts and chestnuts, roast potatoes, bread sauce and gravy on our private dining and festive restaurant menu.
4. Christmas pudding
Likewise, the Christmas pudding is a key component of the traditional British Christmas, often doused in brandy and served with a dollop of cream.
Historically, a silver six pence coin would be hidden within the pudding, said to bring good luck to the person that discovers it. Due to health and safety, the age-old tradition has since faded out.
For the British, the cheeseboard is often the final course of the Christmas meal, paired with a glass of rich port wine, perhaps.
The French, on the other hand, swear by enjoying their cheeseboard ahead of dessert, before moving on with a glass of dessert wine.
Although biased towards the former, we are happy to serve your cheeseboard whichever time suits!
6. Christmas lights
First introduced to the world way back in the 17th century, the tradition of Christmas lights is one that has certainly withstood time. Whilst flickering candles were first used to bring atmosphere to Christmas trees, mantelpieces and windowsills, today they predominantly give way to electric fairy lights.
At The Petersham, we go all out with our twinkling lights, twirling them around our imposing entrance, weaving them around our grand Portland staircase and hanging them up throughout our festive restaurant.
7. Christmas tree
It’s not really Christmas without the tree, is it? Another age-old tradition, the first documented use of a Christmas tree is actually argued between the cities of Tallinn in Estonia and Riga in Latvia, who both claim to have raised the first trees; Tallinn in 1441 and Riga in 1510.
Our own magnificent tree stands proudly every year in our lobby at a huge 18 feet tall, wrapped with 4,000 fairy lights. Don’t forget to take a team photo beside it as you head off to your festive party!
8. Christmas music
You either love it or hate it but rest assured the classic Christmas tunes will be belting out without fail once again this year. First extending from traditional Christmas carols, the Christmas number one is now a highly-sought after spot in the charts. From Bing Crosby’s ‘White Christmas’ to Elton John’s ‘Step into Christmas’, here at The Petersham, we adore a good cracker of a Christmas song!
Create your own Christmas playlist and have a boogie in our tucked-away Cellars – dance the night away until 1am!
9. Fine wine and Champagne
What better occasion to sip fine wine and toast the year’s successes than at Christmas? Our working wine cellars house hundreds of bottles of excellent wine and Champagne, including our very own carefully-chosen house Champagne, Joseph Perrier Cuvée Royale, The Petersham.
10. Secret Santa
Everyone loves a game of Secret Santa, don’t they? Why not start off your festive celebration with an exchange of Secret Santa gifts around the table? Good luck on avoiding the last-minute Christmas present buyer!