Tips to Host the Perfect Christmas Dinner
A quintessential Australian Christmas is filled with ice-cold drinks, fresh seafood and salads, berry-topped pavlovas and occasionally, a few Christmas carols belted out in the backyard.
As Christmas dinner is usually a highlight of the day, you might be feeling the pressure to whip up a delicious meal now December is upon us. But fear not, nailing the perfect Christmas dinner isn’t as hard as you’d think if you’ve got the right approach. Here are some of our top tips for nailing this year’s Christmas dinner.
Get organised and plan ahead
It may seem obvious, but creating a plan should be at the top of your Christmas list if you’re hoping to plan the perfect Christmas dinner for your guests. Starting a few weeks before the big day, start pencilling in your guest list, a rough menu and food and drinks shopping list, and any other ideas you have for table decorations – no-one enjoys a mad dash to the shops on Christmas Eve to pick up the last box of Christmas crackers.
Depending on how much time you have, completing an online ‘click and collect’ order for your local supermarket is a handy way to ensure you’ll have all the ingredients you need for the big day. Even if you don’t have your full food shopping list ready, make sure you at least order your table’s staples, including Christmas ham, chicken, turkey, lamb or prawns, well in advance so you aren’t left without once the 25th rolls around.
Set a festive table
Your table is a great way to set a festive mood for your guests, so take some time the day before Christmas to decorate your table. Start with a tablecloth – opting for something colourful or themed is great for kids who are likely to spill food, but otherwise, a classic white tablecloth is classy and will make your more festive decorations pop. Next, lay out placements, crockery, glasses, and of course, a Christmas cracker for each guest. Pop a small Christmas tree and a few candles in the centre to help set the mood even further, and voila!
Present an open bar
The simplest way to make sure everyone has a refreshing drink in their hand when they arrive is by setting up a designated bar area either inside or in your backyard. To do this, make sure you’re well-stocked with plenty of ice, a few beverage options inside eskies (single-serve bottles or can are easiest), and a few non-alcoholic options such as bottles of soda water or soft drink, and of course, still water. Then, set up a few rows of glasses (reusable, hard plastic glasses are a sustainable option) and consider using coloured drink tags so your guests can differentiate between their glasses. For a fun Christmas twist, try shop for cute Christmas tree or Rudolph-themed drink tags or toppers.
Fire up the barbeque
There’s nothing more Aussie than a barbeque – so what better way to ring in a festive Aussie Christmas than with a few delicious dishes fresh from the grill? Whether it’s your steamed ham, a batch of prawns or a set of veggies wrapped in foil and ready to be grilled, a barbeque is the perfect way to infuse smoky flavour into your Christmas feast – and also, can free up your oven or stovetop in case you’re running out of space to cook the rest of your food.
If you have a plumbed gas barbeque, there won’t be a long wait for the plate to heat up, as it’ll warm in a matter of minutes. Plus, with control temperature dials, your food can be cooked to your exact desired temperature without the need to constantly monitor or rotate it. Bon Appetit!
Set up your plates, and serve
Before all your food is ready (either out of the oven, fridge or barbeque), set up all of the plates you’re going to serve them on. This is a handy way to clear your benchtop, and prepare your serving tools so your guests won’t be eating food that’s been left out too long while you organise your other cutlery.
Once everything’s ready, the fun (and feast) can begin! Just remember that Aussie summers are notoriously warm – so cover any leftover food to keep it safe from bugs, and be sure to shut the fly-screen door as you move inside and outside to keep your house as cool and comfortable as possible.