Tips for hosting your Christmas Day feast
Christmas Day Feast – three words that have the power to simultaneously instil delight and dread in anyone! The latter, mostly in those that are organising the Christmas Day feast. If you’re that person, our tips for hosting your Christmas Day feast couldn’t have come at a better time! Lucky for you, we know a thing or two about hosting a feast here at Cucina Rustica. And being an Italian restaurant, serving up food from a culture that is built on family gatherings, we have a lot of insights on that, too. So, stop worrying, take deep breaths and we’ll help transform you into the Christmas host/hostess of dreams!
Tip #1: Plan & Prepare
Plan your Christmas gathering well in advance – lists are your best friend, not to mention festive! (What is Christmas without a good list?) Utilise the Notes app and Calendar in your phone to help you keep track. If you’re extra serious about your planning – you can download handy apps like Trello and separate all your reminders onto boards, complete with deadlines and reminders!
Prep anything you can in advance; peel your veg and prepare your stuffing the day before. Things like sauces can always be made in advance and frozen, ready to heat up on the day.
Co-ordination is the key; schedule everything beforehand. Time, places, etc. so you’re not wasting time trying to remember things on the day. Keep checking that list!
Tip #2: Teamwork makes the dream work!
Ever wondered how we always manage to serve up a great meal, with great service and the perfect ambience at Cucina Rustica? Well, none of it would be possible without the collective work of our team. So, enlist the help of your friends and family when hosting your Christmas Day feast. After all, it is the season of kindness and giving!
Take the pressure off yourself and ask friends to help you with putting together some decorations, offer recipes or pick up ingredients ahead of the day.
Delegate tasks to family members (get the kids involved, too) on the day to ensure a hassle-free evening. While you focus on preparing the food, one family member can be responsible for laying the table, whilst another takes care of drinks. Get people to muck in with the washing up, too. And don’t forget to show appreciation for everyone’s efforts (even if they haven’t quite set the table how you’d envisaged!)
Tip #3: Try to cater for all your guests
If you have a guest who is vegan, driving home so needs to lay off the booze, or has a dietary allergy, do your best to provide some alternatives for them.
Here’s a good place to enlist help. Maybe you have friends who are vegan or gluten-free? A simple thing like asking them for their suggestions on festive alternatives for your guests with specific requirements can go a long way and save you a lot of time! Going on recommendations also ensures a bit more quality.
Tip #4: Make sure the evening doesn’t run dry!
Make sure you have enough food, drink and entertainment for your guests!
Without overdoing it, make sure you have plenty of food. Boxing Day is meant for leftovers after all. Extra vegetables, potatoes and salad, are a good start. Maybe stock up on some easy snacks too – there’s always someone who gets peckish about an hour after the feast!
It wouldn’t be Christmas without the after-dinner games, so don’t forget to organise some games beforehand, and have a festive playlist ready to play. Get family members to bring along games too, to ensure you’re not out of options.
Make sure your bar cart is well stocked! Have a mix of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks to cover all ages, requirements and fancies. If you want to go the extra mile with your hosting, why not have a go at making your own cocktails? You could go festive, or, if you want to try your hand at some classic Italian cocktails, check out our blog on ‘Italian cocktails you’ll love at Cucina Rustica’ for some inspiration!
Tip #5: Stay Calm and Positive
Staying calm and positive has got to be our number 1 tip. Trust that your guests appreciate the invitation and all the efforts you’ve gone through to put this day together. Not everything will go exactly to plan but think of a positive solution instead of lamenting that your day is ruined. Having people to help and being prepared will also really help you to stay calm and positive. The most important thing is spending time with your loved ones – not that you were running 20 minutes late with serving up dinner.
Tip #6: ENJOY YOURSELF
Actually, can we have this as our number 1 tip? The very essence of Christmas is to reconnect with family and enjoy spending time together. So, amidst all the hosting, don’t forget to enjoy yourself. Laugh off any mishaps, be proud of your efforts, and delight in every moment spent with your loved ones – even the crazy ones!
Wishing you a stress-free day of hosting and a very merry Christmas to you and yours, from all at Cucina Rustica.