It’s officially silly season! Here in the southern hemisphere, it’s time to don the boardies, slip on the thongs, fill the esky and grab some prawns, let’s get festive people! And, if you end up the lucky winner in our million-dollar prize home December draw, looks like the party’s at your place! With over 3000m2 of manicured gardens, and complete with alfresco dining areas and your own sports bar, this year’s Christmas drinks is about to get an upgrade!
No matter how you like to celebrate, it’s a time for gathering with the nearest and dearest, work mates, neighbours, long lost cousins and favourite Aunts, so we’ve come up with some ideas to help you turn on the party atmosphere at home.
Everyone loves presents!
In the lead up to the big day, Christmas parties are a standard weekend event. If you are thinking of hosting your own, there are many ways you can make yours stand out in the crowded calendar. One of our favourite’s is the Gift Exchange party. It’s best as an adult-only night out as things could get ugly! If your crew are just big (spoilt) kids at heart, here’s what you do. On the invite tell everyone to bring a gift wrapped anonymously (set a spend limit, let’s say $50) to put on the gift table or under the tree. Once everyone is assembled, suitably mingled and ready to start, ask everyone to draw a number (there should be one per guest). Lucky number one gets to go first and choose a present to unwrap. Number two then gets the option of stealing number one’s gift, or choosing a new one from the pile. If poor old number one loses their loot, they get to pick again, and so on. The only rules are that you have to follow the order drawn on the night and you only get to have a gift once, if you lose it, it’s gone. It’s really something to witness, watching a room of fully-grown adults fight over a box of whiskey glasses or bocce set.
You can never have too many fairy lights
If the infectious Christmas spirit has got you, chances are you’ll be stringing up a few fairy lights this year. Beware the urge to over-decorate though, or before you know it, you’ll have an 8ft Santa Claus on the roof and a herd of red-nosed reindeer grazing in the front yard! There’s no doubt things can get expensive at this time of year, but if you play your cards right, you’ll have a tastefully decorated home that screams Christmas without having a blow out on the credit limit. Shop for your decorations at budget-conscious outlets like Kmart or Bunnings, the range is as impressive as the prices, with many items under $50. If I were you I’d get moving though, the solar powered candy canes were in short supply last time I checked!
Sharing a meal with loved ones is the true gift
Whether a turkey with all the trimmings or a seafood spectacular is your idea of the perfect Christmas feast, serving a crowd of fussy eaters, allergy sufferers, and foodies can be a daunting task. But designing a Christmas lunch menu that caters for all just requires a little planning. Plus despite what grandpa might say, there’s no rules! If you don’t fancy being stuck in a hot kitchen all day basting a giant bird, build a menu of simple delicious dishes with something to suit everyone. Think salads and roast potatoes with a spectacular centrepiece of a Christmas ham, glazed to perfection (so easy to do), and followed up with a pav adorned with raspberries and peaches and crushed hazelnuts or lime zest and mint.
Whatever is on your menu this Christmas, remember the day is more about the people who come together to celebrate with you, than the plateful (ok third plateful) of lunch they manage to consume. And, sometimes it takes a village to host Christmas, a borrowed table or extra plates here, a few kids on DIY cracker duty there, a plate of food to share and some festive bubbles. Whatever is on your menu, it will be the perfect recipe for a memorable Christmas.
The true taste of summer
If warmed eggs, sugar, cream, milk and rum with a dash of nutmeg sound delicious then you are going to love getting your egg-nog on. More popular perhaps in the northern hemisphere once the snowflakes start to fall, never fear, the ingredients for this traditional British beverage may also be used for some wicked French toast to kick off your Christmas morning! Top with some sliced banana and a sprinkle of cinnamon and Robert’s your mother’s brother!
A safer bet for the afternoon festivities, Aussie-style, is a rum punch. Let’s face it, the Caribbean climate more closely resembles ours, and an ice-packed deliciously sweet and sour punch concoction is far better suited to the typical 30 plus degree Australian Christmas day. To build your own on the day, there’s a simple rhyme to help. One of sour (lime juice), two of sweet (sugar syrup), three of strong (rum), and four of weak (pineapple juice or soda). You can substitute just about any ingredient to develop a magnificent cocktail of the day, perhaps swap out the rum for gin, the pineapple juice for cranberry, whatever takes your fancy. Just remember to taste test it before serving it to your guests … And if you are lucky enough to purchase the winning ticket in our next prize home draw, you will have the luxury of your very own purpose-built bar to show off your best mixologist moves. Tom Cruise, eat your heart out!
A homemade gift is always a welcome treat.
Gift giving can get expensive, and the list long. A small token that is handmade and beautifully wrapped is a thoughtful gift, to thank your neighbour for putting out your bins, your boss for giving you extra time off, or perhaps your child’s school teacher. If you don’t have a favourite jam, chutney, or cookie recipe, a simple search online will reveal plenty of options. And who doesn’t love a homemade choc-chip cookie?
A time for celebration
The festive season is a time for celebration, an excuse to over-indulge just a little, and see out the end of the year thankful for those things we may take for granted throughout the year. On Christmas day if you don’t have family nearby to spend it with, invite other “Christmas orphans” or friends and neighbours to drop by. Many will be grateful for the company and a chance to eat, drink and be merry among friends.
However you spend Christmas this year, there are many ways to make it a special day to remember. We happen to know one lucky winner is going to be getting a brand new fully furnished home in the beautiful Glass House Mountains in time for Christmas this year, imagine how memorable that would be! Treat yourself to a book of tickets and that lucky person could be you.