Hosting an Aussie backyard Christmas

December 12, 2016

We may not have a white Christmas in Australia, but what we lack in snow we make up for with great weather that allows us to enjoy the day outdoors. If it is your turn to host the Christmas party this year, put on a backyard event that will have your guests talking until New Years.

Preparation

The biggest rule for hosting any event is to make sure you don’t leave everything until the last minute. Doing as much as you can in the lead up to the big day will help keep you calm and organised, meaning that you can relax and enjoy yourself when your guests arrive.

Take a look around your backyard and decide what needs doing in order to be ready to throw your Christmas party. If the yard is looking overgrown, it might be time to give it a good clear out before the day. The easiest thing to do is to hire a skip bin so you can just toss everything in and it will be hauled away with no fuss for you.

If you’ve been meaning to get around to re-doing your yard, now is the time to get onto it so it’s ready for the big day. Perhaps you’ve been wanting to add more plants or colour, or even include some Bali garden design ideas from your last trip away. Get started now so you can show off the new yard to your guests on Christmas Day.

Table setting

When guests arrive for your Christmas function, it gives a great first impression if the table is already set. A beautiful table setting can really give any event the ‘wow’ factor, so you don’t want to be rushing around doing it at the last minute or after guests have started arriving. If the forecast looks good, you can even set the table the day before so it’s one less thing to worry about on the morning.

Plan B

Although Christmas falls in summer in Australia, December can be a strange month when it comes to the weather. Hot and sunny one day, wet and rainy the next. Keep an eye on the forecast but always have a back up plan in case of bad weather, so your guests will still have somewhere to sit and mingle.

If the weather is set to be a scorcher, make sure there is shade available, or if it’s going to be windy, invest in some table weights so the table cloth doesn’t fly away.

Entertainment

Don’t forget the entertainment! To get everyone into the Christmas spirit it can be loads of fun to run some old-school backyard activities. Divide people into teams for some friendly competition while you do egg and spoon races or games of limbo.

Placing trivia cards around the table can get the conversation flowing during the meal, or some silly jokes for a good laugh. If children are coming to your Christmas event, task them with making up a special Christmas concert. They can practice while the food is cooking and put on their special show just before lunch or dinner is served.

Think about the flow

Have a think about the guests you have invited before you plan the seating arrangements. If you have a mixed bunch of people who don’t know each other too well, it can be nice to have a common area that fits everyone, so they can all sit and get to know each other better.

If you have groups of people who don’t necessarily get along too well – something that is quite common at this time of year – it might be better to have different breakout areas around the yard. Dot tables and chairs throughout the yard so no one is forced to socialise with people they don’t get along with, and you should have a smooth Christmas day.

Lighting

If you are having Christmas dinner instead of lunch, don’t forget the all important lighting. A string of lights can really change the ambience of an event, and set the tone for the night. Some well placed fairy lights, or lanterns can create a magical effect. If done well, lighting is the only decorations you’ll even need.

Food

Don’t forget it’s your Christmas day too, and you don’t want to be rushing about in the kitchen all day long. Prepare as much food as you can in advance so that you have a chance to relax with your guests. If the weather is warm, salads and seafood are a great option for an Australian Christmas. And don’t forget the trusty BBQ. A BBQ in the backyard means you can still hang out with your guests even while lunch is cooking.

Drinks

A glass of bubbly or a cold beer are perfect drinks for a festive day. But don’t forget the importance of hydration, especially if the weather is hot. Set up some drink stations around the yard where guests can pour their own cold water and other non-alcoholic drinks. Seeing them dotted around the place will remind guests to keep up the water intake. For alcoholic drinks, put them into large ice buckets or esky’s to keep them ice cold throughout the day.