With December just around the corner, there's so much to look forward to as we gear up for the festive season!
From fun social gatherings to thoughtful gift-giving, and exciting holiday planning, there's always something to keep us busy!
And while the thought of preparing the perfect Christmas lunch or dinner can be a bit overwhelming, let's remember that it's all about spending quality time with our loved ones. So let's make this holiday season one to remember and enjoy every moment of it!
This article will provide you with top tips and the best Christmas Dinner ideas to help you plan the ultimate Christmas dinner like a pro, ensuring everyone, including you, has a relaxed and Merry Christmas.
So, let's dive in!
What foods do Australians eat at Christmas?
While some families follow traditional customs of serving Roast Turkey, Glazed Ham, and Mince Pies at every Christmas dinner table, others prefer to get creative with their own festive spin.
For instance, one of our FoodSt cooks Rebecca says:
"Our whole family has been coming together with different cuisine ideas or ingredient heroes as our yearly Christmas day theme. We've had Japanese, Greek, Italian, and Turmeric Christmas, to name a few. The Turmeric theme made for some interesting discussions later.
The host family or friend takes charge of the main course, while the guests contribute to starters, drinks, sides, and dessert. This way, the pressure is off the main host, and it makes for a relaxed and enjoyable Christmas."
Image of Rebecca, FoodSt cook
And it's not uncommon for households to enjoy a Christmas dinner featuring different cuisines, especially when almost 50% of our population comes from diverse cultural backgrounds.
At my in-laws' place, Christmas Day lunch is a fusion of traditions, featuring a delicious South Indian Prawn Curry, Appam and Stew, alongside the usual favourites like ham, turkey, and cranberry sauce.
If you're looking for recipe inspiration, Anushree, one of our FoodSt cooks says:
"If it’s a barbecue and you have a mixed crowd, focus on different kinds of skewered vegetables, meats & fish. These can be marinated in different spices like a tikka masala or asian marinades, or maybe a chimichurri." These are great ideas for adding a new twist on the BBQ.
We're so lucky in Australia to have such rich cultural diversity and foods to match!
What are the top 10 Christmas foods?
In saying that there are of course crowd pleasing foods and popular recipes that seem to grace the festive dinner table across the country.
Roast Turkey, like Wal's Herb & Garlic Butter Turkey Breast
Pork in the form of Glazed Ham (with loads of leftovers !) or this wonderful Herb-Infused Porchetta by Bec
Prawns, prawns and more prawns! Fresh and perfectly cooked, any which way actually.
Barbecued Seafood, like Michelle's Whole Rainbow Trout stuffed with Ginger, Dates & Pine Nuts
Potato Bake - always a great side dish! Check out Nat's Potato Dauphinoise, already made and ready for you to throw in the oven.
Cherries, Mangoes, Nectarines and desserts made with them. Such as Michelle's glorious Baked Berry Cheesecake with a Spiced Ginger Base.
The ginger and warming spices make this oh-so Christmassy.
Trifle and Pavlova. These are the quintessential dessert centrepieces for your festive table.
Side dishes or salad featuring fresh vegetables such as green beans, carrots, citrus, sliced almonds for extra crunch, stone fruit and the ubiquitous pomegranate seeds for that extra sparkle.
Christmas Pudding. Every family has someone who has a recipe. Classic!
Fruit Mince Pies with custard...yum! Just like Richard's Rustic Homemade Fruit Mince Pies here
Ideas for Christmas Dinners
There really are so many options to choose from, so we have compiled a list of easily accessible and tried and true recipes for your inspiration.
Side Dish and Salad Recipe Ideas
This is a colourful salad, with a flavour combination familiar to many. The roasted tomatoes elevate the dish for a little extra oomph.
This is deliciously good, and a little fancier than your usual potato salad.
Main Course Recipe Ideas
This recipe by Shane Delia is oh-so-good! This is the ultimate showstopper - a whole salmon with a tahini sauce, herbs and pomegranate seeds.
Dessert Recipe Ideas
As the Queen of food styling, Donna Hay's recipes always look stunning! This trifle is a real showstopper that will wow your dinner guests.
Just a great recipe for a Pavlova! Topped with berries and with a delicious lemon curd.
How do I plan a Christmas Dinner or Christmas Lunch?
With so many wonderful foods and Christmas dinner ideas it can be hard to know where to start, but fear not, we've got you covered.
Planning a memorable Christmas dinner menu is all about creating a balance between tradition and innovation.
Here are some steps to help you plan the perfect Christmas feast:
Choose a Theme: Consider adding a unique twist to your Christmas dinner, just like our FoodSt cook, Rebecca, mentioned earlier. You can go for a theme that reflects the diverse culinary traditions in Australia or explore a new cuisine altogether. This can make your Christmas dinner more exciting and fun.
Plan the Menu: Once you've decided on a theme, plan your menu accordingly. Include traditional favourites like Roast Turkey, Glazed Ham, and Prawn Curry or explore new dishes that fit your chosen theme. Make sure to consider dietary preferences and restrictions of your guests.
Delegate Responsibilities: Don't be afraid to delegate. If you're the main host, ask your guests to contribute to starters, drinks, sides, and desserts. This not only eases the pressure on you but also encourages everyone to be a part of the celebration.
Stock Up on Ingredients: Make a shopping list based on your menu and theme. Ensure you have all the ingredients you need well in advance. This will save you from last-minute rushes to the store.
Prep in Advance: Plan your cooking schedule and prep as much as you can in the days leading up to Christmas. Some dishes can be made well ahead of time and even frozen.
Or as Wal, one of our FoodSt Cooks says: "Be like Santa Claus and make a list, and don't forget to check it twice. Things that can be made ahead are a blessing and give you more time on the day. If you're going down the traditional route with ham and turkey, I suggest that you pair it with a nice bottle of Sparkling Shiraz"
Wal, FoodSt Cook
Create a Festive Atmosphere: Decorate your home to create a warm and festive atmosphere. This includes setting the table with care, paying attention to food styling, putting up Christmas decorations, and playing your favourite tunes. This article by Better Homes and Gardens has some great table setting ideas.
Or for a very Australian touch, read this blog article by eclecticcreative.com.au here
Enjoy the Day: On the day of your Christmas dinner, relax and enjoy the company of your loved ones. Remember that it's not just about the food; it's about making lasting memories together.
Consider FoodSt: If you want to simplify your preparations, FoodSt can be a great option. You can explore our selection of high-quality, culturally diverse dishes that are prepared by accredited local cooks. They have all been prepared for you so you just have to bake in the oven, or reheat. This can be a convenient and affordable way to add variety to your Christmas menu, and reduce some of the stress.
Finally, remember this...
Remember, the most important aspect of planning a Christmas dinner is to create a joyful and relaxed atmosphere for everyone to cherish. With a little bit of planning and a dash of creativity, your Christmas dinner will be a memorable and delicious celebration. Merry Christmas!