Catering for Christmas

Is it really that time of year again? It’s hard to believe, I know. It seems like just yesterday that we were dealing with the likes and dislikes of friends and relatives at the Christmas table, not to mention the weeks either side of what’s meant to be a holiday – hah!

Mesa de Navidad / Christmas Table

Well this year is going to be different, because I’ve jotted down a few ideas for helping you to keep the festive mood alive, without losing sight of the bottom line or your sanity. After all, it’s not a celebration if you’re not having fun.

Call me hardnosed, but I think it’s important to be practical, no matter what the size of the party. As my worldly-wise Nana says, you can’t please everybody…

So, step one is assessing your friends and colleagues who are lucky enough to have received an invitation from you. How many of them are there, and what are their drinking habits? You know them better than I do, and probably know their preferences, and ability to down them, more than you realise. Are they happy with a cocktail (or three), or are they more the type who prefer a sober glass before they fade into the night?

It’s important to take into account the formality of the situation, and also the time of day it takes place. If it’s a stand-up evening affair, with only light foods available, champagne (or a cheeky little Methode) or beer would probably be suitable, whereas, if it’s your turn to host the Christmas lunch, more serious wine choices have to be made.

Woah! All these different strands now have to be brought in to mingle. This is not as difficult as it sounds. Planning now means that it will all be good on the night.

Typically, the earlier in the day everything starts, the more careful you have to be about your choices. This can even mean having to find out what your grandmother’s favourite aperitif is. Because when she’s happy… At a more formal event, the numbers are usually fewer so you can afford to splash out, in terms of quality. For more people, just choose a range of beverages that you yourself would be happy to drink. Say you figure that it is going to be, on average, a bottle of wine or six or so beers per person for an average of three hours? I’d say that’s a good rule of thumb. So far, the math is easy.

And it doesn’t need to get any more difficult than that. It gets a bit vague when it comes down to everybody’s summertime favourites – vodka or gin & tonics, but I just tend to get extra, safe in the knowledge that it keeps… And yes, I do believe that it’s important to keep a generous amount of tonic or soda in the pantry and a big bag of lemons beside it. In case of emergencies, you understand.

Not all emergencies are equal, though, so if you find that some of your drinks questions remain unanswered, do feel free to ask for more in- depth advice.

Article Author: 

Catherine Algie

Catherine works as assistant manager at Glengarry Herne Bay and has been 'local wine guru' there for over 2 1/2 years.

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  • Wice says
    Punch can be great for Christmas parties too - especially as a pre dinner drink. That way, you only have to think about wine with the meal and not bother so much with catering to all sorts of different tastes any earlier.

    It can be a real feature - your own special mix - soon to become a tradition - and the bowls can look very festive. There may be a few groans from beer drinkers to start but iI you offer an alcoholic plus a non-alcoholic punch, people most really enjoy it (and none of those half empty bottles left lying around to clean up afterwards).

    One thing though, don't make the punch too sweet as it isn't meant to be lolly water and the also, the sweetness can deaden the appetite for the grand meal!
  • Dee-Dee says
    ...we are fortunate to have a wonderful mum who has Christmas down to a fine art...and it is her way or the high way but she is very organised and everyone has their jobs....but every year it always falls into place with time to spare thanks to mum...we have tried to get her to relax and we take over but she always says this is the time of the year she loves to do it for her family....but we always let her and the older family members relax, while we clean up even if she is telling us what to do while sitting catering for Christmas is what my mums says comes down to early planning and checking the finer details of that plan.....
  • Foreverme says
    I just like to have a glass of wine,deep breath and chill....Just before everyone arrives and the chaos starts....and then collapse into bed exhausted!!!
  • Mellow says
    Traditional Christmas dinner comprised with all the trimming is considered the norm.... Some would prefer a simplified version, esp in summer spent with the BBQ, [turkey included], picnic etc .......... some a hangi.. Whatever the flow, may family and friends be content..
  • Vanda says
    made some gorgeous 'xmas puddings' this year using mini mallowpuffs, melted white choc and gummy snakes - cut the red and green ones up to decorate as mistletoe.
  • CheldeWyatt says
    Amazing, This is just the brilliant way to find some finger food catering for our traditional Christmas, Catherine Algie you have got one brilliant post here, Would love to seeing more from you soon
  • CheldeWyatt says
    Christmas' done and dusted now and it seems that it's time we change that. For catering, I've contacted for a similar sort of celebration, in the middle of February. It's going to be amazing.

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