You’ve probably noticed the fruit mince pies sneaking their way back onto groceries shelves, which is a sure-fire sign that it’s time to start planning Christmas lunch.
After the trash-fire years that we’ve just had, we could all do with a stress-free and happy Christmas, so it’s all about planning ahead. We’re here to help you achieve that goal with a step-by-step guide to gathering all you’ll need to host a Chrissie lunch.
1. Start planing Christmas lunch, now
It’s never too soon to start planning your menu. Will you want a roast or seafood? Will you need dessert? How many portions will you need to keep everyone full? Does your household still enjoy a traditional fruit pudding? The sooner you have a plan, the sooner you can get your orders in. As we know from years gone by, your meats and puddings can often sell out long before the big day, and you want to make sure your name is on the list.
2. Don’t forget to pair your drinks
Sorry to be dramatic, but your beverage selection can make or break your meal. Of course, there are always alcohol-free options, like Heaps Normal Quiet XPA. If you’re looking for boozy pairings though, you’ve got to get it right.
Typically, you’ll want a white wine to go with a seafood. A moderate white wine like Fowles Are You Game Chardonnay ($19, down from $24) or Ninth Island Pinot Grigio ($25) is best with crab and lobster. A lighter French-style rosé like The Frenchhouse ($13) can bring out the best in prawns and oysters are all about the sparkling, like a bottle of Chandon NV Sparkling Brut ($31).
Roasts are all about a heartier red wine like a Ch Latour Camblanes Bordeaux ($25), Penfolds St Henri Shiraz ($130) or Bowen Estate Cabernet Sauvignon ($33). A merlot like Tenet Estate Merlot ($16) will also do the trick quite nicely. A traditional drop to have with your dessert would be a Ruby or Tawny Port. Try Niepoort Ruby Port ($37) or Penfolds Father 10YO Tawny NV ($30).
3. Plan your table settings
Are you a minimalist table-setter, or someone who prefers a festive table to look like Santa spewed tinsel on it? How many settings do you need? Will you use the good china or paper plates? Will you splurge on the good Chrissie crackers this year, or no? Work it out then organise everything you need into one area of your cupboard/ storage space. Make setting the table on the day the very least of your concerns. It’s like making yourself a little table map.
4. Order everything well in advance
As we’ve talked about, Christmas things are often limited specials, with sales on a first come first serve basis. Trust me, you want to be first. Not only so you don’t miss out, but also so you’re not the person who races to shops for bread at midnight on Christmas Eve only to scream because it’s sold out (yes, I have been the unlucky bakery worker who pulled the Xmas short straw and got screamed at by customers who only had themselves to blame).
5. Create a run sheet for the day
I’ll be honest, thanks to my kitchen skills I’m essentially banned from helping with the family feast, but I’m always so impressed by my Dad’s run sheet for the day. He’s all about planning Christmas lunch in advance in regards to how long each dish should take, what he should prepare the night before and what time on Chrissie he should get started on everything else.
Sure, things still go wrong but let me tell you our lunches have changed from being about 4 hours late to only 1 hour late since he started doing this. And don’t worry, he gets help, just not from me.