So…the count down is on, as I write this there are less than 7 weeks ’till Christmas!
While that might not sound ‘that bad’, I must confess thinking of Christmas and all that needs to be accomplished before the end of the year, I break out in a cold sweat!
This brings me to the reason for this blog…it is my hope together we can de-stress a little, do a little strategic planning and get our groove back and head into the festive season with confidence and an eager happy heart. It wouldn’t be a blog from my heart if I didn’t share a few sustainable and eco friendly tips along the way too!
With this in mind let’s get started!
First port of call is to decide what will be scheduled in for your Christmas festivities? Will you be hosting meals at your home, at a venue, at another home, by the beach or at a park?
*Who will this include?
*Number of people?
*Ages of the guests?
*The type of lunch or dinner meal – traditional roast, cold meats and salads, BBQ, family favourites according to your favourite cuisine or a combination of these?
Once these details have been decided / voted on ( if your family is anything like mine – very diplomatic 😉) it is time to get planning!
The planning stage:
Call me old school…. but I love nothing better than grabbing pen and paper (or an old school book with plenty of blank pages) and writing down my list. Using the dot points above as a guide I start planning out all the details so I can clearly see what will need to be done. If you are delegating certain jobs, meals prepped or cooked etc.. add that in with names of those helping and let them know well in advance your plans.
Now you have a plan you can see what needs to be done and a time line in which to get that list ticked off.
To simplify I will break each of the main places we normally host a Christmas meal and add in some decorating and planning ideas.
Christmas lunch / dinner at your home:
Often seen as the most stressful option, we will start with this first, as with a little planning it can actually be the least stressful of the options.
Starting with a good clean and declutter you will have your home ready for decorating and all the preparations needed for Christmas. I like to give the home a thorough clean at the end of November ready for the Christmas tree going up 1st December – a family tradition.
Decide on a Christmas colour theme and consider what you can reuse from previous years. When purchasing new items for decorating be mindful of its quality and materials. Purchasing a few quality items made from sustainable materials will be a wise decision long term.
Don’t forget bringing in natural foliage from the gardens is another lovely way to decorate, adding fairy lights, Christmas ornaments, ribbons and including natural candles is a beautiful way to decorate with out purchasing a lot of plastic ‘future landfill’ products.
Writing a menu for the Christmas meal, including all snacks, drinks and other extra goodies will not only help with food prep and purchasing, it will also give you the perfect opportunity to assess your crockery and glassware needs.
Filling in the gaps with new wine glasses, tumblers for the children, serving platters and plates is a great way to introduce some modern and sustainable options in beautiful neutral colours that will stand the test of time. Replace paper napkins with linen napkins in a neutral colour for an earth friendly option. Use extra Christmas ornaments etc.. to add in extra festive colours of choice with your table decorating to compliment your Christmas tree and other decorations throughout your home.
As your special Christmas lunch / dinner approaches decide where you will eat – inside or outside depending on the time of day, weather and number of people attending. Alfresco dinning is one of our favourites when weather permits. Again decorating outside in the entertaining space with fairy lights, garlands, candles and cushions and throws add a little bit of inside comforts to the great outdoors.
Preparations with foods and drinks can usually start a day or two before the event, making a shopping list and then listing preparations in a timeline help keep you on track and organised. Enlist help wherever possible – take out the stress by not doing it all yourself! Usually people enjoy helping, but often don’t realise the help is needed!
On the day…..have your final to do list, breathe, and enjoy! Your guests will enjoy the day/night even more if they sense you are relaxed. You have done your best and now it is up to each person to make the most of the festivities!
At another home:
If you have been invited to another’s home, check in well in advance as to what you need to contribute, then the day before do a final check that plans have not changed, confirm arrival time and pack ready for an easy departure the next day.
At the beach or park:
We love being outdoor and being prepared is key to having a fantastic time, over packing is better than being caught out with not having essentials for the day.
Sunblock, hats, towels, picnic rugs and chairs plus games and activities for small and big kids alike – frisbee, cricket, football, water sports etc… all make for joint effort fun times!
Don’t forget ice for the esky, a way to provide shade and extra seating and tables and even the BBQ if that will be your source of food cooking. Better to be prepared than miss out because of crowds. A little decorating can again go a long way to adding to the festivities – on tables, in nearby trees and on the back of chairs. Swap out plastic cups and plates and cutlery for eco friendly options like bamboo settings available at most grocery stores and don’t forget your fabric napkins – better for the environment and they don’t have that nasty habit of flying away! Lastly provide a bin for the rubbish.
At a venue:
If you will be having a large gathering at a venue or a self catered venue preparation will be key to have everything run smoothly. Having one person as the contact person for the venue or the head organiser for the self catered festivity will be wise so the details don’t get missed or doubled up. It’s important that large amounts of organising is delegated but overseen by the ‘organiser’.
Confirm booking a week before and then again the day before to ensure all goes smoothly. Follow up with other guests a week before that all details are clear and understood. If you have special table favours or decorations you will need to discuss this with the venue. Decorating the self catered venue will add to the glamour of the event. Often decorating can be done the day before – enlist help and bring the music, snacks and drinks and have a mini party while you are at it!
Arrive at the venue approx 20 min prior to the party and if at a self catered venue know what is required for after party cleanup.
Don’t forget the music – keep it age appropriate and a mix of Christmas and current music should keep the crowd happy!
Light the candles, turn the fairy lights on, tidy up, adjust the tree, decorations and presents (even the big kids can’t help touching and rattling the gifts etc…😉) and finally take 5 minutes for some time to breathe and smile…..Enjoy and Merry Christmas xx
From my family to your family, wishing you and your loved ones a very safe and Joyous Christmas and a Fabulous New Year!