Stylish & Stress Free Christmas

Holiday Hosting Made Easy

So you’re hosting Christmas lunch this year and want to be perfect? Don’t let the festive season leave you frazzled and desperate for it to be over. We’ve got 5 tips for a stylish and stress-free Christmas to take the pressure off the big day.

1. Festive Finishes

Pulling out your box of Christmas decorations every year is so exciting. Teeming with family heirlooms and Christmas crafting projects from the kids, it’s tempting to hang every single item from the Christmas tree and ceiling beams. But just because each decoration is precious doesn’t mean they all have to be put on display every single year. For a chic Christmas theme consider contemporary Christmas colours for your decorations and table setting. Sage green, sea blue and pale pink are very popular this year.

If you’re the crafty type, you could also print your own bunting or make a floral Christmas wreath to give your festive finishes a personal touch (and keep the kids busy!).

2. Plan the Menu

Whether you prefer a casual summer Christmas lunch of cold meats and prawns, or a traditional Christmas dinner with roast turkey all the trimmings, organisation is key. Carefully plan a menu from platters and appetisers to entrées and desserts. Calculate the number of guests and portion size so you can create a shopping list. (HOT TIP: Order online to avoid the Christmas crowds!).

If you have a large gathering, don’t be afraid to delegate dishes. The day should be about relaxing and celebrating, not slaving over a hot stove and many hands certainly make light work when it comes to preparing a feast. Prep as much as you can ahead of time so the day unfurls without a hitch. And don’t forget to stock up drinks — from champagne and eggnog to soft drinks and coffee.

Looking for menu inspiration? Check out these chef-created Christmas recipes and cocktails:

Perfect Pork Roast & Golden Fried Potatoes by Chef Laura Sharrad

Campari Shakerato by Chef Laura Sharrad

Fruit Mince Tart with Mascarpone by Chef Laura Sharrad

Charred Prawns, Brown Butter, Tamari & Fried Capers by Brendan Pang

Fruity Summertime Cocktails by Chef Laura Sharrad

Pavolva Wreath by Chef Laura Sharrad

3. Set the Table

Have the plates, napkins, cutlery and glasses all set out ahead of time to set the scene and have your table lunch-ready. Stack up the appetiser plate, dinner plate and salad bowl for each setting (rather than placing them separately) to add a little formality and festivity. A plain white table setting is a timeless choice for Christmas, as it can be dressed up with napkins, candles, a floral arrangement and decorative centrepiece.

Alternatively, bring your contemporary colour palette to the Christmas table with soft muted tones and a little bit of bling with a touch of metallics. Add a bauble or two to each plate with a name place-card to make the setting extra festive.

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4. Gather Your Gifts

The golden rule of Christmas shopping is: don’t leave it until the last minute! Write your list up well in advance so you can ensure you haven’t forgotten anyone special. It will also make it easier to stick to your budget. Shopping online is a great way to source what you’re after and purchase with the click of a button.

For large families and gatherings, Secret Santa or a Kris Kringle is a great idea. After all, Christmas can get expensive, particularly as the years go by and families grow. Check out our great gift guide with ideas to suit every person and budget.

For a chic Christmas gift display of packages under the tree, keep your wrapping paper, ribbons and gift tags colours coordinated.

Image courtesy of @threebirdsrenovations

5. Get The Guest Room Ready

If you have in-laws, adult kids or fly-in friends staying overnight this Christmas period, don’t forget to get the guest room or study comfortable and guest-ready. Start with a good declutter and deep clean, then make the bed with some fresh linens. Leave some fluffy towels on the bed so your guests don’t need to ask. And add some fresh flowers, a scented candle, throw blanket and reading light to make your house guests feel at home (HOT TIP: Have an iPad on their bedside table with Netflix ready to go!).

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