Christmas might be more about consumerism than ever before, but for most families it’s also about something else equally important: food.
For mums and those in charge of the celebrations in their own houses, this means figuring out just what kind of Christmas meal is right for them.
It might not be Christmas yet, but the date is fast approaching. Anyone who has ever planned a Christmas can tell you that food planning is an integral part of making a stress free Christmas (if there is such a thing!). So, if you haven’t already, now is the time to start planning what sort of celebration you’ll be having. One great place to start is having a look at the various styles of Christmas meals you can have, and the pros and cons of each. To get you started, we’ve listed some below!
Traditional Hot Christmas Lunch
Oh my Mother INSISTS on having one of these every year, luckily she also has very cold air conditioning because there is nothing worse than a hot meal with all the trimming in 40 degree heat! If you don’t have the luxury of air conditioning this probably isn’t the right Christmas celebration for you. Traditionally it involves a hot roast meal, with roast vegetables, gravy and a boiled plum pudding for dessert. It certainly is delicious – but not really suited to the Australian climate.
A variation of this meal would be cold roast meat with salad, a few hot veggies and hot gravy – cook the meats the day before (or buy them if you can), slice finely and lay out neatly on platters in the bottom of the fridge, sealed well with plastic wrap.
Good For: People with air conditioning or the traditional older generation.
Bad For: Hot houses and the people who have a large number to cook for as it can be a lot of work.
Seafood is plentiful in Australia and although expensive, Christmas does only comes once a year. A couple of prawns, or even lobsters if your budget will stretch, on the barbecue or a beautiful stuffed fish wrapped in foil takes most of the heat out of the house (and lets some of the men do some Christmas cooking!). Serve with some lovely fresh salads and a nice cold dessert such as a trifle, and you have an easy day where you can actually have a sit down and enjoy yourself as well!
Try and purchase seafood the day before Christmas if you can – even though you will have to fight the crowds, fresh is always best. Alternatively, check to see if your local supplier will allow you to reserve some items for pickup on Christmas Eve.
Good For: The women that usually end up doing all the cooking who really need a break.
Bad For: People without a decent sized back yard or living space.
Christmas Champagne Breakfast
A Christmas Breakfast is a nifty idea for families that have more than one celebration in a day and need to travel. It does take a bit of preparation work the night before (you certainly don’t want to be doing it in the morning), but can be a lovely change from the usual foods. You have incredible scope for a breakfast celebration, from a buffet through to a hot cooked breakfast on the barbecue. Don’t just stop and bacon and eggs, perhaps try some filled croissants or some poached eggs on smoked salmon with hollandaise sauce. Of course have a lovely bottle of bubbly on ice to make it that bit fancier!
Good For: Families that have more than one Christmas celebration that day.
Bad For: Non-early risers and people that have a lunch to go to afterwards.
Buffets aren’t as elaborate as they sound. All you need it a table or bench separate to the main dining table where you can lay out various dishes so that people can help themselves! As long as you have plenty of platters and dishes, its a nice and easy way to feed a lot of people. You can do a Christmas buffet for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or even a barbecue!
Good For: Large gatherings of people and fussy eaters.
Bad For: The person washing up (avoid this by assigning chores to people other than you!)
Christmas Finger Food
Finger food is a delicious and easy way to have a Christmas celebration without spending too much time in the kitchen. If the weather is particularly hot, think of lots of cold cocktail type foods such as the Caprese Bites or the Chicken and Mango Wonton Cups. Great for a supper party or mid-afternoon function.
Good For: Those on a budget or people passing through that have already eaten a meal.
Bad For: The traditionalists and big eaters.