Is it your turn to host the Christmas gathering? Whether you will be hosting a small group or a large gathering, a relaxed BBQ or a formal sit-down meal, these tips will ensure your Christmas gathering runs as smoothly as possible. After all, just because you’re the host doesn’t mean you should spend your Christmas stressing out!
We know we’re getting in pretty early with this post, but when it comes to Christmas, we reckon preparation is key.
Create a Simple Christmas Menu
Although trying out fancy new recipes is great fun, a Christmas gathering might not be the best time to do so. If your aim is to save stress and have a good time, we recommend that you stick to a simple menu that includes dishes you are familiar with making. If you want a casual and relaxed affair, a BBQ buffet is always a crowd-pleaser.
A Few Christmas Menu Tips
- Don’t repeat the same ingredient (e.g. don’t serve beef appetisers as well as a beef main)
- Aim for a variety of food colours & textures
- If you are providing a buffet, opt for both hot and cold options
If you’re unsure about cooking amounts, the link below has some helpful tips. We’d recommend overestimating rather than underestimating when it comes to food quantities. See Tips for Planning Your Menu Quantities for more information.
If you are overwhelmed by the idea of cooking for the hoards, why not ask people to bring a plate of their favourite Summer dish? This will give your meal great variety and save you plenty of time on the day. If everyone brings a dish, there will definitely be leftovers, but you can give these to guests in plastic takeaway containers!
In the week or so before the gathering, we recommend that you make lists of everything you need to buy, prepare or do before and on the day of the gathering. You will find the planning much less intimidating if you have everything down on paper.
To save yourself stress on the day, prepare as much as you can the day before. This includes preparing or pre-cooking dishes and setting up your home. If you do this, you will actually have time to mingle and relax on the day!
Platters Are a Must
Having antipasto platters is a great way to keep guests busy while you finish preparing food. Mediterranean inspired platters (with cured meats, bread, crackers, dips, cheese, olives and marinated vegetables) never disappoint. Having platters also means that you can reduce the quantities of your main dishes a little.
Don’t Neglect Food Safety
One thing you really don’t want to give your guests for Christmas is food poisoning. To avoid it, it’s important that you have basic knowledge of food safety. Here are some basic tips for the day:
- Always wash your hands with soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food
- Refrigerate (or freeze) perishables, prepared food and leftovers within 2 hours
- Wash cutting boards and knives with hot soapy water after food preparation, especially after cutting meat, poultry or seafood
- Use a separate cutting board for raw meat
- Ensure burgers and sausages are properly cooked through – no medium or rare cooking on these!