Inspiring & Essential Christmas Entertainment Tips

With Christmas just around the corner, we thought we’d share some festive-themed homemaking hacks that will make the weeks before not only less stressful, but downright fun! A little planning is all that’s required to help you wow your family members and guests.

Now is the time to look ahead and celebrate with family and friends while keeping safe. We know how important this time of the year is to many and that’s why we think that making Christmas magical should be high on the to-do list. 

Not sure where to start? Our easy guide has all the information you’ll need, covering Christmas house decor, gift ideas, table styling, gift wrapping and so much more. Together, we can make this festive season a magical one. 

Table styling 

While some of us like to keep things traditional – think reds, greens and lots of velvet – many are moving away from the conventions of the ‘white Christmas’ decor styling as seen from our US and UK neighbours. The Christmas decor trends that are recently taking off include incorporating more Australian flora as well as earthy and organic colours and textures. Opting for contemporary palettes during the festive season is becoming more and more popular with each passing year. Whether you lean more traditional or modern, it’s nice to have more options to choose from. 

From the table to the toppings, here are some suggestions for ways to make your table stand out this year. 

Contemporary festive styling:

  • Look to your local area and forage natural greenery to dress the table with. Gathering bunches of greenery and arranging them casually in matching or mixed vases is a nice place to start. Don’t worry about lack of floristry skills – the final arrangements should look natural and organic. One large central bouquet and two smaller ones always looks lovely, as does adding a sprig of foliage to individual napkins.
  • Stick to a neutral palette inspired by nature. Think: green, beige, brown, grey, rust, etc. 
  • Continuing with the theme of nature, look to natural materials and fabrics. Linen is a great choice for a tablecloth; cotton works too – just stay away from anything overly white or starched. 
  • As long as you keep the palette of everything on the table neutral, don’t stress about matching much else. The overall look should feel relaxed and the natural textures and colours will work in harmony without you even trying. 

Traditional Christmas styling:

  • Picture a classic, traditional Christmas – red, gold, deep green mixed with velvet and maybe even tartan. During the festive season, more can definitely mean more or you can opt for a few accents to channel the traditional spirit. 
  • Long candles always look classic during the festive season. Look for a gold candle holder if you like the glam or one featuring foliage, baubles, and pinecones. 
  • A low-key yet impactful way of styling your table is opting for a bold tablecloth: red, green, or even patterned, like tartan. 
  • When picking flowers for the table, look for dark reds and greens, anything with red berries and evergreens. 
  • You can add strings of delicate lights around the table, which will beautifully illuminate the rich colours of your chosen decorations. 
  • Add crackers or bon-bons to each table setting for extra Christmas cheer. 

Check out ‘4 Christmas themes to apply to your home styling’ for further tips on how to make your living and dining spaces extra magical this Christmas season. 

Food prep 

Now that the table is dressed, you have some time to prep the all-important Christmas lunch or dinner. There are some tips and tricks worth knowing when it comes to food prep – these will not only save you some stress, but also give you time to enjoy the hustle and bustle when your first guests arrive.

Some of these may sound a little like no-brainers, but you’ll thank us later if you find yourself without these bases covered.

  • Check ahead of time if any of the guests have dietary requirements to avoid big disappointments on the day.
  • More than enough crockery, cutlery and glasses for the guests.
  • A few rolls of paper towels at the ready nearby for any unexpected spills and crumbs.
  • Sturdy, non-breakable cups and crockery for the kids.
  • Napkins, a mix of fabric and paper are useful to have on hand.
  • If kids are on the guest list, prepare food that they are familiar with and will enjoy – now is not the time to get them to like their most despised vegetable!
  • Think of ways kids can help with food prep/keep entertained while the adults are cooking. 
  • Make a list of all the dishes you want to serve ahead of time, listing the ingredients you’ll need underneath each one. Shop using this list to avoid missing key ingredients. 
  • Divide your list of dishes into those that can be pre-cooked or cooked in advance and those that will need to be cooked on the day. Make as many of your meals ahead of time as possible. 
  • Write out a cooking schedule for the day itself so you’re not rushing trying to make it all at once. A methodical approach will reduce stress and help you to get food on the table on time. 
  • If you’re cooking meat, remember that it needs to rest before serving – how long will depend on the meat itself. Factor this in when scheduling cooking times and the time you want to eat. 
  • Drinking wine? Open your bottles a few hours beforehand to allow them to breathe. 
  • Have plenty of non-alcoholic drinks available and don’t make them an afterthought. Flavoured sodas, shrubs, and cordials make for great non-alcoholic options. Garnish them just like you would regular cocktails. 

Cocktails, bar area & Christmas playlist

Now that the table is set and the food is prepped, you’ve earned yourself a refreshing drink! Whether you’re a DIY mixologist or simply someone who enjoys a tasty tipple, the list of potential cocktail recipes is endless. Unlike the decor, you’ll probably want to stray away from the traditional drinks, such as mulled wine or eggnog, opting instead for something cool and refreshing that’s perfect for the Australian summer. You can still channel traditional Christmas flavours like citrus, cinnamon, and cloves in your cocktails – there are plenty of recipes available online. 

Here are some cocktail essentials that you may want to add to your Christmas shopping list:

  • Cocktail shaker: an essential for any party.
  • Glassware: tumblers are the most versatile, though having a mixture (like martini and highball glasses too) will give you the most options.
  • Load up on seasonal fruit; it’s as good in cocktails as they are dressing up pitchers of water. Shop seasonally: cherries, mango, passionfruit, peach, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, pomegranate. 
  • Edible flowers can be used to garnish drinks as well as desserts: pansies, violas, calendula, lavender, hibiscus, roses. 
  • Herbs are another great way to garnish and scent cocktails and water. Don’t be afraid to add a sprig or two to your drinks. Rosemary, thyme (different varieties), mint, and bay leaves are all great additions.
  • 3 or more ice-cube trays – you always want to have more ice than you think you’ll need.

Christmas wouldn’t be complete without the music. We have some tips around how you can quickly and easily craft the perfect festive playlist.

Get the right Christmas playlist:

  • Rather than searching for that Christmas CD or vinyl from the garage, save some time and trouble by saving some playlists on Spotify or even YouTube. You’ll find a huge range of playlists to choose from like classics, jazz, pop, and rock. Or a mix of them all.
  • If you want to please all of your guests, you can hand over the control of the music to each guest for a specified amount of time, that way everyone gets to hear their favourites. 

Guest bedrooms 

All the presents have been unwrapped, everyone has eaten (and maybe even drunk) more than their fill. Now it’s time to lay down and sleep off the busy day of festivities. If you’re hosting family and friends who have travelled to see you, you might be thinking about their sleeping arrangements. If you have the capacity to have a guest bedroom, there are a few little touches that will make their stay extra special. 

Here are some tips to make your guests feel at home in the guest bedroom: 

  • Turkish towels
  • Leftover fresh/dried flowers from the table-setting on the bedside
  • Phone charger
  • Wall mirror
  • A mini toiletry kit with a toothbrush and toothpaste that they can take home with them
  • A snack for any midnight hunger pangs
  • A bottle of water or a carafe and a glass
  • A chocolate on their pillow for that hotel feel
  • Bathrobe and slippers

Last-minute Christmas gifts for surprise guests 

Something that we rarely think to plan for is surprise guests. If you really want to earn some brownie points with all of your extended family, having some simple Christmas gifts prepared on standby is sure to impress any unexpected guests who drop by last minute. Opt for gender neutral items that everyone will enjoy and think with practicality in mind. 

  • Socks – you really can’t go wrong. Novelty Christmas pairs are sure to go down a treat while navy and grey pairs are likely to please everyone else. 
  • Artisanal chocolates. Keeping a box or two will always come in handy. You can even find vegan chocolate. 
  • Tea, coffee, or a combination of both
  • Cookies, brownies, shortbread: bake a big batch, which will keep for a few days, and store in an airtight box. You can buy or DIY small gift boxes to give away. 
  • Reusable food wraps – always a practical option.
  • Portable device charger – a gift everyone secretly needs.
  • A reusable coffee cup or water bottle
  • Tea or decorative hand towels

Start the Christmas party prep today!

Are you feeling ready to tackle the Christmas period now? Follow our easy tips and tricks, while remembering one crucial point: plan, plan, and then plan some more! Doing the right prep ahead of time means that not only will you be the host with the most, but you’ll also be prepared for the unexpected. All the hard work is bound to pay off when you’re spending as much time as possible with your loved ones and barely any stressing over the day’s tasks. Let the Christmas magic illuminate your home this festive season. 

Now is a great time to start the Christmas shopping for the ones you love – and maybe even those you’re not expecting on the day! Visit your local centre today and find something special for everyone.