Christmas 2013! Who doesn't love the parties and dinners around Christmas in a Sydney summer? Why not add your own party to the calendar and refer to this list of unoriginal (but key) things to ensure its success.
1. Fairy lights No, the novelty of fairy lights will never end. There are so many varieties of globes, colours and formations that there are simply no excuses not to have fairy lights at a Christmas party. I bought my battery powered set from a discount store on Oxford Street in Sydney. I can place them anywhere - on the balcony railing, around a door frame. Fairy lights add sparkle and fun to any space and are a sure-fire crowd pleaser. Best $10 I have ever spent.
Setting idea for Christmas Party
2. Planning and prep
This goes without saying and is perhaps a less original addition to the list. But planning is essential to party success! Who hasn't witnessed the hilarity of puddings without sauce, burnt lamb cutlets, a few unfortunate guests drinking their champagne from plastic cups or those even more unfortunate late guests watching a raging party above, stuck outside the unit block front door without the entry code. Don't forget important details in party invitations. Plan dish ingredients, cook and chop whatever you can the night before. Set out all the meal components in pretty dishes with cling plastic over the top and quietly relish your planning fortitude.
Lemon Meringue Pie from Constant Cravings Cakes, East Gosford, NSW
3. Something made, Something bought This is a brilliant method to alleviate potential cooking disasters on the party day/night. Duck rice paper rolls? Buy a roasted, dissembled peking duck on the day. Dessert? A lemon meringue pie from the local bakery - done. Follow the rule of buy the ingredients, assemble the dish. Have a box of chocolates or biscuits to save the day if all else fails. EASY!
Home-made sausage rolls - setting and food ideas for Christmas Party
Parties must have tunes. Christmas is often a time to reflect and reminisce and with that in mind classic Christmas tunes from the likes of the Rat Pack, Bing Crosby and Elvis are usually a good hit. But like most tastes, the music can be a good variety! As long as its all between the spectrum of easy listening and upbeat - you cannot really go wrong.
Christmas Party starters ideas
5. Fresh summer drinks There is nothing more wonderful than Sydney and fresh summer drinks. Icy-cold sparkling water with a dash of lemon, lime. Jugs of water with shaved cucumber. Ice-blended tomato, basil, vodka and salt. There are many more varieties that are far more interesting and easy to make than these examples!
Setting idea for Christmas Party
6. Balcony - Open Windows - Cool Breeze To compliment a cool drink, make the most of Sydney's cool breezes. Its usually hot during December and no one likes to be sitting in their own sweat in a dusty apartment. Open the windows or have chairs on the balcony so guests can choose where they feel most comfortable.
Duck rice paper rolls with soy and peanut sauce
7. Christmas in Sydney is one long party The beauty of Sydney summers is that most days are fine days, therefore, most days are potential Christmas party days! I've always admired people who's apartment is a revolving door of friends and family popping in for visits. And these unplanned visits are all part of Sydney summer fun. This reinforces the fact that planning and having ingredients ready are essential to the Christmas party season. Have you always wanted to be that host that can wave a magic wand over the fridge and voila - perfect smoked salmon, cream cheese and caper pancakes, and bruschetta? Scroll above.
Cheese Cake from Constant Cravings Cakes in East Gosford, NSW
8. Unlimited time
There is something so endearing about guests that immerse themselves in your party and stay, from start to finish. And it is equally wonderful when hosts let the party run its natural course with ease, whether that is 10.30 pm or 3.00 am. A relaxed atmosphere will ensure people take it easy and enjoy the food and drink that you have slaved over the past few hours!
9. Kitchen space Clear it or suffer. There will be mountains of dishes to clean, and those stubborn, caked-on pies will start talking to you. But to lessen the cleaning fiasco, clear the benches from the start, and clean as you go. Keep track of peoples glasses, so you don't need to keep using news ones.
10. Chairs Simple? No. Most people don't have many spare chairs lying around a unit. Bunnings have great outdoor, plastic chairs that perfect to store for a party. Don't have poor Jim from next door sitting on a cushion on the floor with a plate on his lap.
With this all in mind, have a wonderful, merry Christmas and enjoy the usual cacophony of friends, family and fun that comes with spending summer and Christmas in Sydney.