Posted: 19th December 2016 | Written by: Isobel Odendaal
As Christmas is fast approaching, this is certainly one of the busiest times of the year for many yachts. We have put together some of our most popular posts and suggestions from our Facebook group, Yacht Stewardess Tips. I am very much a believer of KISS (keep it simple, Simon), and even though there are so many options and ideas available, I like to keep my choices simple and elegant.
From myself – I wish all of you a very happy and blessed Holiday Season – and hope that at least your crew mess decorations will be merry and festive, even if you are working and far away from your loved ones!
No Christmas trip/charter is complete without some matching cocktails! Check these out:
Mulled Wine with a Twist - J from Fifteen London
Snow Gobe Cocktail
Here is one of my favourite Christmas cocktails to present to guests:
White Christmas Martini (image courtesy of Shari's Berries)
Here’s what you will need:
2 ounces vanilla vodka
2 ounce white chocolate liqueur
1 ounce white crème de cacao
1 ounce half-and-half
Honey and coarse sanding sugar for rim garnish
Pour the honey into a shallow dish and put the sanding sugar in another shallow dish. Coat the rim of the glass in the honey; then dip the rim in the sugar to coat evenly. Set the glass aside.
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add the vodka, white chocolate liqueur, crème de cacao and half-and-half. Shake vigorously and strain into the prepared martini glass.
A search on the internet, especially YouTube and Pinterest, hows literally thousands of wonderful and unique ideas, but I am sharing some of my favourites with you:
The Swirl Napkin Fold:
Christmas Table Setting Ideas
Check out how – this was a really popular post on our Steward/ess Facebook group!
Oh, dear, the owner’s wife has given you instructions to be in charge of the guest Christmas gifts – either for the Christmas dinner table or for turn-downs on Christmas eve… Here are some lovely suggestions from the Facebook group members – some for a larger budget, some for smaller.
Fancy Christmas crackers – but filled with notes where each guest ‘wins’ something on board – like a massage from the masseuse, or a special meal cooked by the Chef, or a jetski ride with their favourite deckhand, or a private dining experience or sunset Champagne on a nearby beach, hot air balloon ride, etc.
Check out www.selfridges.com for their splendid (and classy) Christmas ideas for guests
Suede men's loafers with their dogs embossed into it.
Personalised monopoly boards and gifts
Personalised beach bags
Vilebrequin reindeer board shorts
Books relating to their favourite hobbies or yacht destinations
Chef cooks food and makes snacks/cookies from the crew’s home countries and serve to guests on Christmas eve with cards describing the history or instructions how to eat each dish/cookie/dessert
Google 'Name a Star' to order a star named after the yacht (they'll get a certificate).
Having a personalized painting done for the yacht owner
Beauty product hampers – fancy brands for women
Hampers for men: fancy socks, business pens, stationery, golf balls, leather goods etc.
Gourmet hampers containing local products, fancy or homemade sweets
If no masseuse/Beauty Therapist on board, book the guests in at a local fancy spa for a few treatments
Check out Harrods’ beautiful and elegant Christmas decorations – maybe a Swarovski keepsake for each guest?
General ideas for guest gifts during a Christmas trip – turn-downs and at table
Personalized (with yacht’s logo/name) pens
Personalized playing cards
DVD montage with music of all the photos and movies made during their trip
Personalized hats, T-shirts, visors, fleece tops, belts, golf shirts, travel bags, even boxer shorts!
Personalized drinks coolers and neoprene beer cozies
Personalized wine labels and liqueurs
Custom luggage tags
Personalized nail care sets
Personalized hand sanitizer, lip balm, flip flops, slippers, suntan lotion
Personalized neoprene skins or leather covers for IPads, IPods, IPhones
Personalized eye pillows
Recipe book with food photos, recipes, menus, table settings of their trip while on board
Photo book of guests’ trip on board
Personalized photo frames or digital photo frames
USB stick burnt with guest’s collection of favourite music while on board
Longitude and latitude of trip printed on linens, with a picture of the yacht
For a return charter, print out photos from their previous trip and place in frames around the yacht
General table setting tips and principles
Most yachts where you are employed will already have their table set-up items purchased. If you are expected to purchase new items, keep the following in mind:
Do you do more formal set-ups, or are your guests more informal?
What candles, marbles, etc. will match with stuff already on board?
What is the colour scheme of all the linens on board, as well as the interior colour schemes?
Go through all the items that you have on board, and decide what you will need according to that. Tea light candles, cream and white candles and clear glass marbles are always handy, because they match most colours and can be used many different ways.
Remember the basics of table centrepieces – it should not interfere with the guests eye view – they must be able to see each other once seated.
Tasteful embellishments include the following:
Candles – all shapes and sizes and colours matching your interior and placemats and tablecloths
Marbles – all colours
Polished stones- Fairy and LED lights – also look for waterproof LED lights for inside your flower vases
Crystal Vases – all low shapes and sizes – definitely invest in 3 or 4 rose bowls – they look wonderful with floating candles or large open lilies inside them
Fruit is a wonderful accompaniment for table settings – especially breakfast and lunch time.
Candle holders – all low shapes and sizes
Silver or gold décor items – always looks classy. Rose-gold is still very trendy this season.
Wooden boxes – all shapes and sizes
Satin Ribbon – all colours - for nice ideas with napkins – wrap around napkins and menus, etc.
Shells of all shapes and sizes often make beautiful table settings. Use sand as well – easy to find!
Have colourful large fabric pieces for buffet set-ups – it does not have to be a table cloth. For example, place white Christmas lights on a buffet table, create 3 dimension (with turned over Tupperware containers) and cover it all with a colourful organza material – it creates a beautiful effect
A selection of wheat stems and sticks is always handy to have on board
It is useful to buy a few WINDPROOF candle holders for exterior areas
A selection of fancy and not so fancy napkin rings always add variety to your table setting
Of course, ivy leaves and other leaves, or herbal branches (like rosemary) are great to use in set-ups as well
Napkins and table coverings according to etiquette:
A tablecloth is most appropriate for formal meals
Place mats are best on wooden tables (and exterior tables)
Cotton or linen napkins are preferable. Polyester and other artificial fabrics are less absorbent – and less pleasant to touch.
Flowers, candle and centerpiece basics:
You need a small assortment of vases in a variety of shapes and sizes. Neutral colours (clear, silver or white) and simple designs are best. If you opt for more distinctive pieces, you will need a larger collection of colours and styles to meet all your needs.
Flowers arranged in vases sometimes need help staying put. Use “frog” wire or oasis to help with this. Glass marbles do the job too. Of course, clear marbles are the most versatile.
Candles are one of the most important of the standard supplies. Have a few pillar candles, ranging from tall to squat, taper candles, votive candles, and a good selection of tea candles. DO NOT USE FRAGRANCED candles on table settings as fragrance might not agree with the foods served. Have plenty of white and cream coloured candles, as they are the most versatile.
For a Christmas decoration, pine needles/branches and silver or gold pine cones are always a popular and traditional choice. Often, you can use a large square platter, filled with polished stones with 3 or 4 pillar candles (different heights), as a simple, yet elegant table centrepiece. Look at candelicious for their wonderful range of modern and classical candles.
If your guests are sensitive to the effects of normal (cheaper) candles, look into purchasing beeswax candles. According to studies they also produce a much lower percentage of carcinogens into the air.
Flowers and candles according to etiquette:
Flowers should not have a heavy, detectable scent that competes with the food.
It may often be better to arrange flowers in small bouquets or float them in shallow bowls rather than combine them all into one vision-blocking bouquet.
Candles should be dripless and scentless, and should only be USED FOR DINNER (after dark).