Is your home ready for Christmas entertaining?
If you’ve just noticed the decorations springing up in the shops, you might be starting to get into a bit of a panic wondering where the year went. It’s important not to leave your Christmas preparations to the last minute, so if you’re hosting Christmas this year, it’s a good time to get in and start making plans.
For many Australians, Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without barmy weather and outdoor dining. So if you’re expecting more than a few guests and your entertaining areas are looking less than luxurious, it might be time to give them a seasonal makeover. If you’re a bit lost on where to start, don’t worry—there’s still time to make some simple changes that will create a truly magnificent Christmas spread.
For most Australians, the lead up to Christmas—which seems to be getting longer and longer—is more important than the actual day. Your Christmas season could involve multiple parties and events throughout the month, some of which you may be hosting.
Cocktail parties are popular gatherings in these weeks before Christmas as we all get into the holiday mood. You can help to spread the Christmas cheer at your low-key celebrations by having a cocktail station with a range of mixers and spirits, making sure to include a few traditional options like Snowballs, Hot Toddys and Brandy Alexanders. If you choose your Christmas Day theme early, you can use the same decorations and tableware at your cocktail party, tying all your events together with the same style.
The success of a cocktail party is often the result of the seating. Rather than set up large tables (which tend to create isolated factions in the party) or go without chairs because you don’t have enough to go around, choose long benches. You can arrange them either in c-shaped clusters where guests can face each other but still remain open to others wanting to join the conversation, or around the edges of the party zone for guests to take a time out from partying or sit down while they sample the canapes.
One of the best ways to achieve a really striking Christmas spread is to choose the decorations thoughtfully. Picking a theme and sticking to it helps to tie it all together, and set the mood of your celebration.
For a sleek and modern feel to your spread, jump on the latest décor trend: metallics. You’ll find a variety of metallic-coloured tableware items and other homewares in all the major department stores right now. There’s always the traditional gold and silver options, but more and more we’re seeing copper and rose gold making their way into Christmas collateral, along with a growing range of interesting metallic hues like blues and purples. Metallics pair well with block colours and white, but they are surprisingly versatile even with more unusual colour schemes that modern families are experimenting with these days. Pick a contemporary glass-top table with a steel base in an exciting colour, and you’ll need little else to make a bold statement this season.
If modern brights and pastels aren’t for you, you can always rely on the traditional themes to give your celebrations the ambience you’re looking for. Rich wooden furniture pairs well with traditional decorations and spreads, like holly wreaths, nuts and berries.
The dinner spread
Once you’ve slaved in the kitchen all for days, you’ll want your spread to bring out the beauty in all your hard work. Australian Christmas lunches and dinners are characteristically colourful—being a mix of traditional and modern meat dishes, and bright stone fruit platters—but having the right decorations helps to foster the Christmas cheer, garnishing your dishes with seasonal sparkle and making them irresistibly appetising. Tablecloths, table runners and napkins in Christmas colours go a long way towards creating a cheery and celebratory spread, especially when they’re set off by the gold-tipped long-stemmed glassware that you only see once a year. But surprisingly, the secret to a successful spread often lies in the dimensions of the table.
Most Christmas spreads, especially traditional ones, tend to look great on long, rectangular tables. Matching tableware, colourful dishes spread along the length of the table, and soft glowing candles in tall holders make for a ceremonious spread perfect for families and friends wanting to observe the holiday in a formal way. But for a bolder, more contemporary Christmas spread—particularly for smaller gatherings—think about square tables. They’re a great match for tableware and decorations with block colours and geometric shapes and patterns, and they promote a fresher and more relaxed dinner where everyone can face each other and share dishes easily.
Christmas afternoon lounging
Christmas day feasts tend to be an all-day affair, with too much food and alcohol, and lots of lazing around in the warmth. Once everyone is worn out from holiday gustation and backyard cricket, they’re looking for a place to recline where they can still enjoy the company of their family.
Daybeds are a perfect solution for the Christmas Day food coma, as well as the informal end-of-year celebrations in the lead up. They help to create a sense of relaxation and engagement among your family and guests that keeps the function rolling on until everyone has had their fill. But they’re not just perfect for Christmas—you’ll be using them again on New Year’s Eve, and every holiday throughout the rest of the year.
Outdoor furniture is essential in any successful summer celebration in Australia, and it’s always best to choose high-quality and long-lasting products that have the durability to still look beautiful after years of exposure to the torturous Australian weather. There’s no substitute for Australian-made furniture, handcrafted from the finest timbers, to give your outdoor entertaining areas the rich character and luxury you’re looking for. Contact Australian Garden Furniture Company for more information on any of our products, and we’ll be happy to help get you ready for your seasonal entertaining.