Your guide to hosting a stress-free Christmas lunch

  • 5 minutes
  • 5 December 2023

Quintessential Australian Christmas celebrations often feature an alfresco Christmas lunch with family. Beyond the tinsel and turkey, successful hosting requires serious planning and thoughtful consideration. From preparing your home to menu planning, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to hosting a stress-free Christmas lunch at your place.   

Christmas lunch is a time to connect with loved ones

Deck the halls: preparing your home for Christmas

The first step to alleviating stress when hosting Christmas lunch is to thoroughly clean your home ahead of time. Tackle the outdoors first – mow the lawns, trim the hedges and banish any pesky cobwebs. If you plan to host a casual BBQ, re-fill the gas bottle beforehand.  

Then, turn your attention indoors. Now is the time to replace broken light fittings and dust off the skirting boards. Clean out the fridge to maximise space on the big day, and do a stocktake of your tableware to ensure you have enough crockery for all. 

Christmas is a good time to deep clean your home

Image credit: Three Birds Renovations

Make a (guest) list, check it twice!

Invite your desired guests well in advance and ask to confirm any dietary requirements. Ensure you clearly outline your preferred arrival time and what time you expect to dine. Certain family members may have several stops on Christmas Day, and a solid run-sheet for the day will result in less stress for all.  

Christmas lunch is a time to connect with family

Plan for Christmas lunch success

Consider both the atmosphere you wish to create and the available space. Plan accordingly; whether you prefer a formal sit-down meal or a casual buffet, there are plenty of options for a festive feel. Depending on the weather in your area, you can dine alfresco or keep it cosy indoors.  

Whether you choose alfresco or indoors, Christmas lunch is a special moment for families

Image credit: Three Birds Renovations

Christmas lunch: choose contemporary or classic

Some show love through words; others show love through hospitality. The key to a stress-free Christmas lunch is to consider your guests above all. Do any guests have any strong dislikes or intolerances? Conversely, are there any favourite foods you could share as a surprise? 

Whether you create a Christmas menu featuring family favourites or more contemporary choices, a clear plan is vital. List the ingredients you will require, and place orders for turkeys, meats and seafood as early as possible.  

And don’t be afraid to ask for help! Just because you’re the host doesn’t mean you can’t ask guests to contribute a dish or a drink. Holiday cheer is a communal effort! 

Christmas cheer can be contemporary or classic

Decorate for decadence

A stress-free decorating option is to select a central colour theme to create a Christmas vibe that’s at once celebratory and timeless. Consider the many ways you can decorate, from keeping it simple with the tree, to going all out with wreaths, bonbons and figurines. 

DIY decorations are another avenue for your creativity to shine. Consider a DIY native bush wreath, or get festive with a fruit table centrepiece. The DIY touch certainly imbues a sense of care and consideration. 

Christmas lunch is a special time for loved ones

Spreading cheer: table settings to talk about

Presentation is vital to create a festive atmosphere. Simply select glassware and tableware in colours that correspond to your theme, or go all out and match placemats, flower arrangements, candles, and even dining chairs! 

Consider creating custom place cards and menus to take things to the next level – explore an online platform like Canva or add a personal touch by handcrafting these items. Plus, place cards can help guide guests to their designated spots, ensuring a seamless dining experience.  

Christmas is about spreading joy

Merry music, delightful drinks

No celebration is complete without the perfect soundtrack. Consider creating a playlist featuring family favourites, or choose a curated Christmas theme from an online music or video streaming platform (Youtube or Spotify are a great place to start!)

Spreading Christmas cheer is synonymous with champagne and bubbles. Prosecco is a crowd-pleaser that adds a touch of effervescence to the festivities. Or, get creative with a Christmas-themed cocktail: gingerbread martini, anyone?

Nothing says celebrations more than a crisp glass of champagne

Finalising the festivities: Christmas Eve Prep

If you plan to have guests stay overnight, ensure a relaxed Christmas morning by preparing the guest bedroom the night before. Freshly washed bedding and crisp towels go a long way. Adding thoughtful touches like decorations or small gifts will make their stay something to remember! 

To ease the workload on the big day, stock up on ice, prepare sauces and marinades in advance, and assemble grazing boards. 

Christmas lunch needs many hands to assist

Hosting the ultimate Christmas lunch

Despite popular belief, hosting a Christmas lunch can be a stress-free experience. It all comes down to the company you keep and creating a clear plan for the event. 

Remember, if you’re unable to spend the holidays with family or loved ones, consider connecting virtually to share the holiday spirit. Distance may separate, but the joy of the season can bridge the gap. Additionally, plenty of community and charity events occur on Christmas Day where all are welcome. Cheers to good company, delicious food, and joyful moments with loved ones!