Christmas Planner Guide

Christmas is one of the most joyful times of year, but also one of the busiest holiday seasons with so much to plan and do!

Here's some advice on how to make your Christmas an easy and festive event to remember with tips for everything from budgeting for Xmas presents to booking flights for the rellies!

Use the following links to find handy hints for Christmas this year..











Xmas Party Planning


Christmas is a busy time for all so if you're planning a get-together with friends or family, it's a good idea to start planning as early as possible. Christmas Day is usually a day for spending time with close relatives and the family, but there are many options and opportunities to celebrate in style!

Invitations


There is always a lot happening on Christmas Day, so it's often a good idea to make a guest list well in advance. It's also a good idea to check with guests to find what their plans are for Christmas Day. This will give you a good idea of when to plan your get-together for the day.

If you're planning a Christmas get-together, you could send invitations that are both an invite and a Christmas Card. Try to find invites that are festive for the season, or make your own.

If you're planning a fun Christmas party and want to design your own invitation, look around the internet for outrageous pictures of Santa Claus. He's such an iconic figure that you shouldn't have trouble finding something fun for the invitation.

An important thing to remember when planning a dinner party for Christmas is to not take it personally if people are unable to come along - there's a lot happening on Xmas Day so many guests might not be able make to attend.

When to Celebrate..


You might find that many friends and family have plans during the day, so it might be an idea to plan something at a time of day when the most people can attend. There are many ways to spend Xmas Day such as..











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Xmas Dining in Melbourne


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It is the easiest way to book a table at one of Melbourne's many splendid restaurants. Take a break this Christmas and save yourself from the big cleanup on Boxing Day by booking a restaurant for Christmas Dinner this year!

There are many restaurants in Melbourne that have special holiday dining offers. For some tasty deals this Christmas, try the following..


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Food & Drink


Food is as much a part of Christmas as presents, lights and Santa! Whether you're planning a big celebration or a small one, it's a good idea to plan ahead by listing all the food you'll need for the day.


Xmas Shopping


It's easier if you firstly plan what you'll cook and list all the ingredients you'll need for the big day.

Items such as canned or frozen goods can be bought well in advance to make sure you don't forget. This way you'll also find shopping easier if you only have to make small shopping trips here and there during December.

Stock the Pantry


In the weeks leading up to Christmas, make sure to buy pantry goods that you might need on Xmas day such as UHT Milks, soft drink and biscuits. You'll find on Xmas day that with so many guests to entertain there'll always be little things that you'll need!

Keep in mind the little things that you might need and buy them here and there whenever you're out shopping in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
    Entertaining Extras
    -::- UHT Milk
    -::- Coffee & Sugar
    -::- Soft Drinks
    -::- Biscuits & Crackers
    -::- Dried Fruit
    -::- Chocolates
    -::- Pickles & Gherkins
    -::- Cheese

    Suggested Snacks & Nibblies
    -::- Mixed Nuts
    -::- Biscuits
    -::- Chocolates
    -::- Carrot & Celery Sticks
    -::- Fruit & Berries
    -::- Cakes

Food Suggestions


Try serving classic Christmas food such as roasted turkey or chicken, baked potatoes and vegetables. Make the day as much of a feast as you can! Serve up a large punch bowl full of warm Eggnog for your family and guests. A Christmas pudding is always a favourite.

Because the Australian Christmas falls in summer, many families prefer to serve meals more suited for warm weather. If you'd rather a summer meal, try serving a large platter of cold meats and cheese. Salads, bread and dips are perfect for a warm Xmas day.

Crayfish is also a great substitute for a turkey or chicken, if you're looking to celebrate with a formal meal but prefer something cooler.
    Australian Xmas Food Favourites
    -::- Barbeque - BBQ
    -::- Chicken & Turkey
    -::- Smoked Ham
    -::- Roast Pork
    -::- Crayfish & Prawns
    -::- Fish & Smoked Salmon
    -::- Pavlova
    -::- Mince Pies
    -::- Trifle & Rumballs
    -::- Christmas Pudding & Cake




Xmas Recipes & Treats


Here are just a few food ideas to help make Christmas fun and tasty! Food can be as much a part of decorations when celebrating Xmas.. Try these ideas to add some festive colour to the dinner table this year!

Tasty Xmas Wreath
Make a Christmas Wreath by arranging bright red fruit such as Strawberries or Cherries in a ring around a plate. For leaves you could use fresh Mint, arranged throughout the berries.

For a wickedly sweet wreath, you could use chocolates instead, using Jaffas or berry-jubes for the berries and Jelly Mint Leaves!


Christmas Teddy Bears
For a fun snack for both the kids and adults, make Santa Teddy Bears by using Teddy Bear Biscuits! Make up some red and white icing and brush or pipe it on to the biscuits to add little Santa hats!!


Kiwi Xmas Tree
Make a Christmas Tree out of Kiwi Fruit for a fantastic centre-piece on the table! Buy enough Kiwi Fruit depending on the size of the tree you want to make and peel the fruit, slicing it into round pieces about 1cm thick. (It's a good idea to prepare the Kiwi Fruit as you go along to avoid wasting any.)

Assembling the tree is easily done by laying the slices upon a plate, building it up so that it tapers upward into the shape of a tree. To decorate the Kiwi Tree you can use glazed or fresh cherries by pushing a toothpick through each cherry and placing it on the tree.

You can also do the same with jelly snakes for tinsel and lollies for tree decorations that the kids will love!


Christmas Damper
If you're planning a BBQ for Christmas Day, this is a fantastic way to keep the kids entertained while also celebrating a true Aussie Christmas! Damper mixture can be prepared earlier by an adult, or you can let the kids can have fun getting their hands messy!

For a Xmas feel, add green and red glazed cherries to the mixture before cooking - you could even try placing a small piece of chocolate in the centre! If you're after a savoury flare, decorations can include chopped basil or parsley and sun-dried tomatoes for traditional Christmas colours, you can even put cheese in the centre.
    Ingredients:
    2 cups self-raising flour
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons sugar
    1 tablespoon butter
    1 cup milk

    Preparation
    1. Add salt to flour
    2. Add sugar
    3. Rub in butter.
    4. Mix in milk to make a medium-soft dough.
    5. Add decorations as needed (cherries or parsley, etc)
    6. Knead lightly on flat surface until smooth and then pat into a round shape.

    Damper is traditionally cooked on coals or hot ash, however a BBQ can easily be used - wrap the damper in foil and place on the BBQ to cook for 40 to 50 minutes. When the damper is cooked it will give a hollow sound when tapped.

A good idea is to prepare one extra damper that you can use to gauge the cooking time, checking this one before removing the foil from the other dampers.

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Decorations


Decorating for Christmas is simple using the traditional colours of red and green. Sometimes all it takes is a small touch here and there to create a fantastic Christmas feel throughout the house for your guests!

Decorate the house with traditional Xmas fare such as tinsel and Christmas Lights. Check with a local florist to see if you can find festive floral arrangements.

In the bathroom, put out small red and green soaps for the guests to use.

Use balloons and streamers in the Xmas colours of bright green and red. You could use red balloons and tape them to large Mistletoe leaves made of crepe paper or cardboard and green paint, for extra fun.

Set out a food table with a bright green tablecloth and decorate it by scattering dried coconut about the food bowls and plates to make your own snow.

Make the home a festive sight for both yourself and neighbours with Xmas lights and decorations, or even a Nativity scene in the yard. Most importantly for Christmas decorations, don't forget the tree!

Many families will often decorate their entire home and garden in Christmas lights in December. Displays of Christmas lights are so intricate in some areas that simple streets become tourist spots during Xmas time.



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Christmas Cards


If you're sending Christmas cards to friends and family, it's always a good idea to firstly make a list of those you'd like to send cards to - buy more than you've listed, as there'll often be others who you'll think of sending card to at the last minute.

Stock up on stamps and envelopes and make sure that all your contact details are up to date before sending cards.

In the beginning of December, start writing them out - try writing out 5 to 10 cards each night if there are a lot that you have to send out.

If you find that you have cards left over, it's always nice to offer a Xmas card to neighbours or even give a Christmas Card to local stores where you shop regularly, just as a thank you and to wish them a merry Christmas.



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Presents & Gifts


Buying presents is the biggest part of Christmas and sometimes the most daunting, but there are many ways to make it easier..

Make sure to buy all the essentials you'll need for Xmas presents. It's a good idea to wrap presents as you buy them - this way you can make sure to have enough wrapping paper in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

It's also a good idea to have more wrapping paper than you think you'll need, just in case!

Present Checklist
- Wrapping Paper
- Sticky tape
- Gift tags
- Ribbon
- Coloured Pens or Textas


Budgeting
Make a list of everyone you need to buy presents for. Set a budget for how much you'll spend on each person. When shopping for children try and remember that BIG isn't always better - children often get excited about the presents themselves, and will be just as happy with lots of smaller gifts, rather than a few expensive ones!


What to Buy?
When considering what to get someone for Christmas, it can help if you list down their personality traits and interests. Think about what they like and what their interests are.

Quite often it's as simple as thinking about what you've heard them talk about recently - try to find something that you know will interest them.


Shop Early
Try to get the Christmas Gifts out of the way as early as possible. For more expensive items it can make it easier if you pay for them using Lay-by, paying instalments on the gift in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Make sure to keep Lay-by receipts somewhere that they'll catch your eye so that you remember to pay them in advance. Set a budget for the item, deciding how much you'll pay and when.


Compare Prices
When you find a gift you're sure someone would like, try looking about other stores first - many stores hold discount sales in the weeks leading up before Christmas.

An easy way to compare prices is to list the gifts you'd like to buy first, and compare prices online. Most stores will have information about current stock and special Christmas offers online at their websites.


Toy Safety
Unfortunately there are many toys that don't meet proper safety standards, and often these are the cheapest. As tempting as it is to save that extra money, if you're buying gifts for young children, be sure to purchase ones that meet Australian Safety Standards.

For more information Australian Safety Standards - Visit Here


Xmas Gifts For Women (Or Metrosexuals!)


With a comprehensive worldwide delivery service, browse through their stunning collections of Lingerie online, there are some wonderful selections, with all materials sourced from countries such as Switzerland, Italy, France and Austria!



Xmas Gifts For Men (Or Robust Women!)



Gifts For Kids




General Gifts & Auctions






Christmas Gift Baskets



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Xmas Travel & Accommodation


Christmas is a time when family and friends often travel interstate or from overseas to be with loved ones. The following links can help you find accommodation, travel information and even help you to book cheap air fares for guests!

www.booking.com

Christmas Planner Guide



❊ Web Links ❊


Christmas Planner Guide 

Christmas Lights | Melbourne's BEST









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