Stress-Free Christmas Day Celebration Ideas
I know in my family; Christmas Day celebrations have always been way OTT. My mum would literally start cooking a week beforehand and on the actual day we’d never get to see her. She’d spend most of it in the kitchen and when we all sat down to eat she’d be exhausted, red faced because she’d battled her way through a hot kitchen in Australia’s 40 degree Summer heat and then she never felt like eating.
My mum loved her Christmases at home and so did I; the food really was amazing but; the preparation meant it defeated the purpose of us all being there. She never really got the time to enjoy it.
Now I’m older with kids of my own, I’ve made it my mission to make sure my Christmas Day isn’t spent entirely in the kitchen; even when going to a little extra effort. We are flexible with our plans and ensure we spend every possible moment enjoying our day as much as the kids enjoy there’s. No slaving over hot ovens and no preparation for weeks in advance. Just good old fashioned soul food and the company of the ones you love. So if you’re like me and looking for an alternative to the usual crazy Christmas Day stress overload, then here are a few alternatives.
Christmas at the Beach
What could be more Australian than a Christmas Day spent at the beach? It’s usually perfect weather and considering we have some of the most beautiful and iconic beaches in the world; why not capitalise on it and work your tan. Grab a couple of beach umbrellas and pack the esky. A cold chook and a couple of kilos of prawns. Add in your mum’s famous potato salad and a simple garden salad and you’ll have your lunch sorted. What about dessert? Mangoes are in season and are a favourite for many. Make a mouthwatering fruit salad and it will be sure to keep everyone happy.
Keep the day rolling with a friendly game of beach cricket or a touch footy match. You can always play a bit of frisbee or even add a kite to the Christmas presents this year. Whatever you do, remember less is more. Your kids will love it and so will you. Aside from the very low-key vibe, a beach Christmas Day brings; there’s literally no mess. You can dispose of all your rubbish in the bins provided at the beach so you don’t have to bring it all home.
Who doesn’t love themselves a good Sizzler all you can eat binge session. What better day to do it than on Christmas. I had no idea about this until friends of mine mentioned going and I thought it was a great idea. Skip the cooking altogether and have someone else do it for you. You can open presents and maybe throw around a few nibblies at home, but the rest is up to the team at Sizzler. They provide 2 lunch options at Sizzler with an early sitting at 10:45am to 12:45pm and a late one from 1:30pm to 3:30pm. 2 hours of non-stop food and you don’t have to clean up the mess. Sounds perfect to me. You can book online for your nearest Sizzler restaurant and the prices are below.
Teens 13-17: $49
Children 9-12: $39
Children 4-8: $29
Children 3 and under free.
I think the prices are actually quite reasonable given I’d probably spend more than this on the food I’d be purchasing to make Christmas Day lunch anyway. But; if you’re not into Sizzler you’d be surprised at how many restaurant venues actually provide a Christmas Lunch sitting. Wherever you decide to go; the upside is, no cooking and no clean up.
Local River, Lake or Swimming Hole
This idea is similar to going to the beach. The upside is that quite often, you have many of these places to yourself. Unless people are already camping you’ll find most people choose to celebrate their Christmas Day at home. That’s why quite often your local swimming hole will be empty and you’ll have the place to yourself to enjoy. Pack a picnic, pop up a gazebo or marquee and enjoy your surrounds. Go for a swim or, if you have a boat take it. Maybe you were lucky enough to get some stand up paddle boards for Christmas and are keen to test them out. Take a book and find a grassy spot in the shade. You can enjoy the fact that you’re not running around like a headless chook trying to feed everyone and leaving your house in a mess.
Although this one may take a little more planning, it’s definitely something I’d love to do with my kids. I would in fact be excited to do this with my entire extended family and friends as one huge group. Organising that many people however, seems to be proving difficult. Nonetheless, I still think it’s a great idea and you’re getting both a stress free Christmas Day and a holiday in one. P&O currently have 7, 9 and 10 day cruises available over the Christmas period. They have a special celebration on board on Christmas Day and if you’ve ever been on a cruise prior, you’d already know the food is amazing and there’s literally an endless supply. You certainly won’t be going hungry.
Although you’re looking at approximately $2000 per person twin share; if you quad up in a cabin you can always get it cheaper. You can also usually pick up some really great deals online and most of your bookings will give you on-board credit. Cruises are a really good deal overall. Considering not only are the places you visit included in your price; so is all your food. Quite often after booking accommodation over the Christmas break you’re already out of pocket quite significantly and that doesn’t include your meals. Christmas Day is easy peasy and you’re free to enjoy the rest of your days by the pool sipping cocktails. Sounds perfect to me.
If you’re looking to get away from it all and skip the Christmas drama altogether; go camping. You can set up well before Christmas Day and continue to enjoy the camping serenity for a good couple of weeks. Christmas Day can be made a little extra special with a camp oven roast, a good amount of prawns and a laid back vibe. Instead of taking your Christmas Tree, just take some decorations. Choose a tree close to your campsite to decorate and keep the Christmas spirit alive adding a sweet little festive touch. If you’re worried about missing out on seeing extended family; camp close to home and invite them for the day.
Otherwise, given most people have time off over the Christmas/New Year period, ask them to come camping with you. Settle in a for a few beers and a great game of cards and you’ll have a stress free Christmas Day made in heaven.
Help Those In Need
Christmas is the season of giving and your time is the most precious gift of all. Why not skip the great big Christmas Day lunch fuss and help out a charity or homeless shelter. You can save your celebrations for a low-key Christmas Dinner after you’ve lent a hand and it will really put your Christmas Day expectations into perspective. It’s a great way to show your kids just how lucky they are and an opportunity to give back to the community. You can search the web for charities and organisations providing Christmas Day lunch to those less fortunate. So get in contact and help out – there’ll be plenty of people who are grateful you did.
If you don’t want to forego your traditional Christmas Day at home, then you really need to share. Reduce your stress levels and ask anyone who is coming to bring something to share. If you make a few notes you can usually organise between families what you need and who’s willing to provide what. Plenty of us have our signature salads or desserts we love to make and it’s a great way to ensure you don’t have to spend so much time in the kitchen and of course reduce your costs. In doing this it’s also a great idea to stick to cold foods for your Christmas Day lunch feast. Often our kitchen has us handcuffed to the oven because we’re trying to serve up a beautifully traditional roast meal. It’s Australia and usually insanely hot, so skip it. Cold chicken, ham and seafood is just as good as your usual hot roast turkey and a lot easier to prepare.
Although providing a Christmas Day feast is part of our proud Australian tradition, it doesn’t always have to be stressful. The time you spend with your family and friends is more precious than what you’re feeding them. We may love our food and revel in the fact that eating your weight in pavlova is overly acceptable this time of year, but no-one wants you to kill yourself making it. Less stress = more fun!
Every Christmas doesn’t need to be a stress-fest. Remember, your family comes first!