When you love to celebrate - as we all do - December brings warm weather, festive cheer and more than enough excuses to do just that! From get-togethers with friends to parties with workmates and family gatherings, it’s backyards that often play host to Christmas festivities.

This year, why not make yours extra special? Here’s how.

Get your yard ready in advance

First up, you want to ensure your backyard bash is special for you, as well as your guests. Hosting a party is so much easier when you do as much as you can in advance. So, rather than rush around the yard at 6am on the day, make sure it’s guest-ready a few days ahead.

Small things that make the world of difference include raking up any leaves, sweeping decks and concrete paths, weeding, trimming hedges and giving everything green a good water. If your party is at night, make sure you put Christmas solar lights out early too, so they have plenty of time to charge. Clean and stack chairs, tables and decorations, so they’re ready to whip out.

This way, you get everything done in a jiffy and settle in for fun on the day.

Surprise your guests by anticipating their needs

Aussie backyard Christmas parties are renowned for mosquitoes, sweltering heat, soggy sandwiches, burnt sausages and a good dose of sunburn. It just wouldn’t be the same without the things we love to whinge about, but this year, surprise your guests and start a new conversation!

Before anyone starts getting bitten on dusk, be mosquito-savvy with sprays or citronella candles. For a two-in-one solution, pop some fans on the deck to cool everyone down, while warding off the mozzies too. Provide sunscreen, fun costume-style hats and fill some spray bottles up with ice and a few drops of peppermint essential oil, so everyone can have a refreshing spritz.

As for the soggy sandwiches, do yourself a favour and leave the catering up to someone else, especially if you're expecting lots of people.

Imagine having a hot dog cart, complete with yummy relishes and friendly staff to set it up, cook it and take it all away again. That’s heaven for any host and a taste sensation for your guests!

Turn everything into entertainment

Depending on who your guests are, you might be thinking of getting out the slip ‘n’ slide, cricket bats and pool toys for entertainment. That’s great and you certainly want to keep your guests occupied. However, nearly everything from decorations to table settings can provide entertainment, with a bit of creativity. Water balloon pinatas are exciting for little kids - and big kids! When you string them across the yard or hang them from tree branches, your decorating is practically done too, at least for as long as it takes for everyone to mess it all up anyway. Cover a table or two with butchers paper and stencil Christmas pictures or designs for colouring in. For the centrepieces, use jars or vases filled with an array of pencils, crayons and even paint brushes (if you’re game). Write the names of your guests on small gifts and decorate trees, using the gifts as baubles.

Throwing an extra special backyard Christmas celebration is all about being forward-thinking, organised and creative with the little details, so you can get on with the most important thing - having festive fun!