Whilst Melbourne is never likely to witness a white Christmas, celebrating the festive season in the Southern Hemisphere has certain advantages, namely that you can make the most of the beautiful summer weather. Over the years, Australia has developed its own Christmas traditions appropriate to the summer season such as seafood dining, mango based desserts, and the annual Christmas Day migration to Bondi Beach. All in all, an Australian Christmas is a lighter, brighter version of what goes on in the Northern Hemisphere and it makes perfect sense to celebrate our unique take on the holiday in the great outdoors, This week, we give you a few last minute tips on how to plan the perfect alfresco Christmas meal.
Think about the space
First and foremost, you need to ask yourself whether or not our outdoor entertaining area has the capacity for your guests. Ideally you should be entertaining in a covered space (this years’ Christmas forecast is 25˚) where the food can be kept relatively cool and your guests can stay out of direct sunlight. If shade is lacking, consider installing a sail or even put up a few broad canvas umbrellas.
Plan your menu
Unlike our northern cousins, Australian Christmas dishes tend to be quick to cook (like barbecued seafood or mango trifle) or served cold (like turkey, hams, salads), and these are perfect for outdoor entertaining. Aim for a menu that can be pre-prepared in advance and don’t require you spending too much time in the kitchen. Another option is putting together a menu concept and getting your guests to contribute, like a kind of curated potluck.
Get a drink cart
Take the hassle out of fixing drinks by setting up a drinks cart outside near the dining table with a premixed cocktail option plus wine, beer, and soft drinks in a nearby esky so that the guests can serve themselves and all you need to do is occasionally replenish the ice.
Keep decorating simple
If you’re entertaining outdoors, you don’t really need to make the dining area feel ‘cosy’ by crowding it with a lot of decorations. Let the charm of your summer garden speak for itself and keep table decorations simple with a classic linen tablecloth, a native flower arrangement, and a few baubles or a garland hung nearby.
Don’t forget about the bugs
Make sure you keep the bugs at bay during your Christmas lunch by having a personal insect repellent spray handy for your guests, and strategically placing a few citronella candles on the table. If you want a more organic approach, consider incorporating insect repelling herbs like lavender and mint into your table design.
A Better Driveway specialise in decorative surfacing for outdoor areas including patios and driveways throughout Melbourne. To learn more about our capabilities, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by calling 03 5783 4746.