by Michelle O'Toole November 20,2016
Growing up the festive season was a 3D experience. My Grandmother would decorate her home to resemble a cave-like encounter, fighting our way through baubles, lights, and Christmas Fern, to find the lounge or kitchen. Every Christmas was truly a momentous event which could only be paralleled by possibly climbing Mount Everest.
Then there were the activities to match including going to pageants, visiting shop displays, foodie events, and carols. Carols in Australia are by candlelight outside because of the weather which is usually fine because it is in summer. My Grandma was a proud 1950’s housewife who kept up this routine until I was in my 30s.
This is not that story.
This is our story where life is busy and multi-tasked. Things have to get done and the time needed to spend with loved ones.
This is the story of getting things done well, graciously but lazily.
Step one. Have yourself sorted!
What on earth do I mean by that? Allow time out for you. Have your hair done, a few outfits sorted for different events and maybe a massage or two to keep yourself relaxed. I would even throw in a facial and a Mani/Pedi to keep presentable but feel comfortable. Yes, this does include the gentlemen.
The saving grace here is when your back on the list, a relaxed demeanor and polished presentation will make you a joy to be with plus you will look good to boot!
Step two. Entertaining.
Entertaining has become a lost art form. Pick the places to catch up with people, is it a cafe or a seasonal activity with close friends, the office party or family over at your home? Two of those activities are elsewhere but usually at least one might be at your place.
Think atmosphere. Some background music will fill the silence and get people chatting because the awkward silence is not there. Probably not the time to crank out classic rock. Either seasonal music or an easy listening radio station will do the trick. More details here.
Tidy not cluttered. Having the home clean and tidy, decorated and assigned areas for such as drinks, nibbles and where you will eat a meal will create a settled feeling for guests. Don’t want to do the cleaning, no problem, get a cleaner in a couple of times to get things up to speed. Do you feel very adventurous ad might do New Years as well? Sure. You and that cleaner might become a special secret for your hosting events in the future.
Having family and friends over should not mean a course in relaxation medication. Get some help when needed.
Check out the decorations article to get the place looking great in a couple of hours. I personally love lightning because it’s all about ambiance.
Don’t be a hero, get people to help. I do.
Step Three. Food, drinks, and nibbles.
The easiest thing is to have a couple of signature dishes or three if you like.
Are you a grand master at egg nog? Great. That could be your thing. And one day when you pass on they will say “so much fun to be around and man that Egg Nog was something else!”.
My basic tip would be master three recipes. Beverage, a nibble or snack dish, and a main or dessert. When in need order a platter. I have my network, favourite wineries, foodie places including a place that does a chicken or a platter. The key is simplicity.
A basic menu would be;
Drinks. Get a couple of people to bring some drinks. Let them know what you would need or like, this makes life easier for you and them.
Nibbles or snacks. Ask a couple of people if they could bring cookies, Christmas mince pies or crisps.
The main course is usually provided by the host. Order something in advance if you need to.
Dessert. Something easy like Christmas pudding or a pavlova if a contemporary flair is the desired result. Even a fruit salad would be nice. A ready to pour custard or cream would be easy to accompany.
I did find this Christmas menu at BBC food which is very organised and full of beautiful pictures, for some inspiration.
Finally, if you are not a novice but more intermediate adding touches like a pouring jug for cream or custard would be lovely or a signature entree if you like.
The main gist is if you are really lazy, get others to do it. Pay a cleaner, order food, order online from a supermarket for top ups and get friends to help decorate. Job done.