Holiday entertaining completes the vision of Christmas many of us hold in our hearts.
However, despite our best intentions to be gracious hosts, the pressure to whip up the most magnificent meal or the perfect party sometimes threatens to overwhelm even the most eager entertainers among us.
In our third and final 2023 Christmas collection blog post, we look at ways to style up seasonal eating with decorations and tableware. We also give you party planning tips so you can take a breather while holiday hobnobbing. So sit back, pour yourself a drink or a cup of tea and let us show you how to make holiday entertaining even merrier.
A Suite of Nutcrackers
It would be remiss of us to discuss hearth and home at Christmastime without mentioning nutcrackers, our holiday protectors. Assign a pair of royal guard or sequin glitter nutcrackers to guard the entrance to your quarters. Assemble a trusty platoon of nutcracker table decorations, rotating music boxes, and wind-up music boxes. Then send them or sortie, positioning at least one in each room. Find your fairy-tale hero amongst the suite of nutcrackers in our latest collection.
We only serve Christmas lunch once a year – or twice a year if you celebrate Christmas in July. That fact alone calls for a celebration with mouth-watering fare served on gorgeous tableware reserved specifically for this extra-special occasion. Naturally, you can trust your ever-faithful Christmas elves to stock the festive season’s finest feasting and entertaining essentials, from plates and glasses to aprons and tea towels.
All keen cooks know that the magic of The Most Wonderful Time of the Year begins in the kitchen. After you trim your tree, get your favourite room holiday ready by stringing some fairy lights along shelves, window frames, and door frames if you have the space. Then, dig out your seasonal kitchen decorations.
–What’s that? You don’t have any? Well, we can fix that! Jolly aprons, tea towels, and crockery coming right up…
Add a dash of Christmas cheer to the heart of the home with holiday-themed tea towels. Choose from Ladelle Ashdene’s Joyful Jolly and Joyful Merry packs of three. They each come in red and green colour palettes, so you’ll want to get both. ‘Whisk’ your foodie friends ‘seasoning’s greetings’ with funny Christmas tea towels. –Perfect stashed in a delectable epicurean hamper!
Push those ordinary mugs, cups, and plates to the back of the cupboard until January. In their place, put holiday mugs and items from Ladelle Ashdene’s microwave and dishwasher safe ‘Hanging Out for Christmas' Collection designed for everyday use. Hot cuppas in snuggle mugs will start your day off right. Colourful and durable melamine cups and plates bring holiday fun to mealtimes. Leave Santa a scrumptious hot cocoa with a selection of sweet biscuits on new bone china mug and plate sets. Serve little ones a Christmas morning brekkie every day of the Advent calendar on the four pieces of this adorable kids set.
What with everything that needs doing this time of year, party prep must be straightforward and effortless. Remind them you’re the ‘hostess with the mostest’ or ‘host with the most’ when you follow our Seasonal Shindig Success Plan.
Table of Plenty
Take the stress out of feeding a crowd with a grazing table. Setting it up is easy-peasy.
- Use whatever large table you have, or group together several smaller ones.
- Place sheets of greaseproof paper or baking parchment on top of the table or tables.
- Position your platters and bowls. We suggest more Ladelle Ashdene here. Their Cheer and Joyful chip and dip platters work perfectly, as does their Spirit of Christmas bowl with spreader. And you cannot throw any type of Christmas function without a few tree-shaped platters.
- Arrange poinsettia floristry and ornaments in the spaces between the bowls and platters. (You can also leave some empty patches and place dried fruit and nuts directly on the paper.)
- Now all you need to do is put out the food! We recommend fruit, veggie crudités, preserved meats, cheeses, savoury and sweet biscuits, spreads, dips, and chocolates. Leave stacks of paper plates and reusable bamboo plates along the length of the table so guests don’t have to search for them.
This selection of food works best in an airconditioned space. When it comes to meats and cheeses, lay out smallish amounts to prevent them from spoiling. Enlist a helper elf to assist with restocking and refilling throughout the evening.
Mingle with your guests and avoid spending time tending bar during your soirée with a simple self-serve mini bar. This concept works with both outdoor and indoor parties.
- Stock plenty of mixers for cocktails and, for those who abstain, mocktails.
- Stand the bottles in a large bowl, bucket, or esky and top them with ice.
- Place alcoholic drinks in their own ice-filled bowl.
- Stand glasses and cups between the two bowls. Go the fancier route with stemless champagne glasses, highball glasses, and old fashioned tumblers. Or, use bamboo tumblers and banish the fear of glass breakage for the evening.
- Select a single low-effort cocktail that you can easily scale up and mix Christmas quantities in this generous 4 litre Spode Christmas jug.
That’s your food and beverage service sorted! All that’s left for you to do is put on some Christmas music and get ready before your guests start to arrive. (And if you need decorating tips, we share the magic of decorating merrier in our Christmas 2023 blog posts, Part 1 and Part 2.)
It's time to get ready for the main event! Before anyone sits down for an afternoon of delicious food and fun at Christmas lunch, set the scene with a terrific table.
- Start with a cloth, either plain white or one of these Christmas prints. Then, lay a table runner right down the middle: red gold, cream gold, red velvet, or festive foil.
- Set out placemats decorated with Spode’s iconic Christmas tree.
- Assign plates, cutlery, and glassware to each setting, along with a crisp red, green, or white napkin nestled into a silver or gold reindeer napkin ring.
- Don’t forget at least one pair of nutcracker salt and pepper shakers. On second thought, better make it two sets, one for each end of the table.
- Now for the centrepiece, and only poinsettias will do. Create an elaborate arrangement in a vase, wrap some around a figurine vignette, or settle on a simple, chic scattering of flowers in the middle and radiating outwards. Get creative and have fun.
- Strew baubles, small ornaments, and more floristry down the length of the table.
- Station a small nutcracker ornament at every place as a small gift for each guest.
- Last but definitely not least, put a Christmas cracker widthways in front of each placemat. Stick with the nutcracker theme or choose red, gold, or Santa-themed ones.
With the table set, you better pop back into the kitchen and check on the food.
Advice from Mrs Claus
Can’t decide what to cook for the big day? –Well, Mrs Claus found time to share a handful of her favourite Aussie Chrissie recipes with us:
- Donna Hay’s Cheats Glazed Ham
- Prawns with Herby May & Gem Lettuce
- Matt Preston’s double Mind Potato Salad
- And for dessert – pavlova! Donna Hay’s Classic Pav or Chocolate Swirl Lamington Pavlova
Mrs Claus also sent her very own recipe for Christmas crêpes!
This year, when everyone has had their fill of Christmas lunch savouries, shuffle them into the lounge. Invite them to sit around the Christmas tree to play a game of Secret Santa, Kris Kringle, or Bad Santa. When you set this all up, give them the added challenge of procuring only holiday-themed gifts from favourite Christmas movies. If they need ideas, share this blog with them. (Please.) Here’s a list of gift ideas to get them started:
- Elf – Loungefly Mini Backpack & Zip Purse
- Guardians of the Galaxy – Holiday Groot Funko Pop!
- Mickey’s Christmas Carol – Fab Five Decorating Tree table accent, Goofy Sledding figurine, Donald and Pluto Sledding figurine, and Disney by Brito Mickey figurine.
- Star Wars – Galactic Advent Calendar
- Frozen – Olaf and Sven figurine
- The Nightmare Before Christmas – Jack Skellington Water Dazzler
When the merriment of exchanging gifts has started to wane, dish up dessert. Plate up your pavlova, Christmas cake, plum pudding, or other cake of your choice on an elegant footed cake stand. Offer tea and coffee served in stylish Spode teacups with matching saucers.
Once everyone’s ‘sweet teeth’ feel satisfied, keep their eyes off screens by breaking out Christmas-themed games:
- Monopoly Elf the Movie Version
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Memory Master
- Mickey’s Christmas Carol Holiday Game
- Disney Villains Selfish
- Funkoverse Nightmare Before Christmas Game
Give yourself a pat on the back for hosting a wonderful function. Sit back and relax, joyful in the knowledge that you have plenty of leftovers for picking at as the afternoon drifts into evening.
Merry Christmas from all your Christmas Elves! We wish you a happy, healthy holiday season full of joy and magic.
Christmas Elves are social elves. Post photos of your displays on Instagram and tag us: @christmas_elves_ or #christmas_elves_