11 ways to do Christmas in right royal style, by A-list party planner Johnny Roxburgh

Johnny Roxburgh, one of Britain's top party planners, shares his tips on the best things to have at your own seasonal celebrations.

Party guru extraordinaire Johnny Roxburgh has been busy planning an array of fabulous Christmas parties for his lucky, well-heeled clients. His creative style will be gracing the grand tables of country estates from the Highlands to the South Coast — so who better to share some insight into hosting a party with pzazz?

The party planner gave Country Life his insights into what’s happening at the best Christmas parties on the scene in 2023 — and also some of his favourite Christmas traditions.


All good parties could use a carousel: I am planning several wonderful events with revolving carousels (think big!). Guests will have dinner on tables, half on the carousels and half off. As they revolve with each course, they end up sitting beside new friends.

Tables covered in distressed pewter with gilded edges

We cover tables with distressed pewter mirror. The edges of the table are then wrapped in soft, old-gold velvet.

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Pale pink and peppermint green tablescapes

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1950s retro decorations

Get them in green and holly red and they’ll be the perfect combination. Or go for bright green and blue scarlet — a very particular 1950s look.


I love a Hanky Panky — it’s a Negroni on steroids, made with Gin, Sweet Vermouth and Fernet Branca. A Manhattan is also wonderful.


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Caviar, boiled eggs on toast and Orkney aquavit

My ideal Christmas morning breakfast. I eat the caviar with softly boiled duck eggs and toast soldiers.

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Confit goose with truffle parsnip purée frosted with cranberry and juniper

Hearach whisky

Isle of Harris Distillery’s new whisky, Hearach is almost impossible to get, but it’s worth trying: the bottles are beautiful and the whisky delicious.


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The Carpenters Christmas album

Old fashioned and reassuring, this is something we play every Christmas. It’s full of nostalgia and perfect background music for a Christmas dinner.

A shot of toffee vodka

Just a wonderful way to finish Christmas dinner.