How to Cater for Christmas Functions

Reindeer, Santa Claus, and mistletoe: everyone associates these things with Christmas. Theming your Christmas party isn't complicated: it's easy to create a whimsical, relaxed atmosphere for your guests. Here are some simple tips to making your function blend with the season.

Let the Season Inspire the Menu

Talk to your catering company about theming each dish with a touch of Christmas cheer. Write down a list of your own inspirations and give it to your caterer: they might be able to find ways of infusing their set menus with your own ideas. You might want to spice up each meal with a Christmas-themed garnish, such as a sprig of mistletoe or holly. Perhaps you want to theme your desserts in Christmas colours of red, gold, and green: cakes or tarts with coloured icing or fruit garnishes to add a splash of colour. Think outside the box: derive ideas from the season's stereotypes and twist them to suit your own design.

Search around for a catering service that offers traditional holiday options on their set menu list. Australian Christmas is diverse: from seafood lunches to roast beef dinners, each family has their own unique set of traditions. Take inspiration from your own, and search for a catering service that can cater to this. Does your family cook a roast on Christmas night? Treat your guests to a taste of your own Christmas with a catered carvery, complete with a spread of fresh, seasonal salads. If you're interested in a lighter option in the hot weather, serve a selection of fresh seafood canapés: fresh calamari; juicy scallops; bugs; reef fish; crab cakes. If you're catering for a casual crowd, you might even prefer to hold a traditional barbeque. Look for a diverse and flexible catering service: your caterer can recommend the best menu, and the best style of service, according to the specifics of your Christmas party.

Holiday Decorations

Dress up your venue with Christmas-themed tableware and décor. Simple, restrained touches have the best effects: colour-themed napkins and place cards, tinsel strung up in the eaves, or perhaps a wreath used as a table centrepiece. As with your menu, think outside the box. You could hang fresh mistletoe from twine to serve as holiday-themed bunting, or string tiny fairy lights along the walls. Your place cards could be Christmas baubles customised with each guest's name: these double as great party favours. You might attach tiny strings of bells to wine glasses, or serve drinks in glasses frosted with painted snowflakes. Other simple touches to enhance theme include:

Christmas-themed candles spaced over each table: candles also enhance atmosphere.
Replace bunches of flowers with bunches of Christmastime flora: hydrangeas, ivy, mistletoe, holly, and poinsettias are all associated with this time of year.
Coloured glassware and plates: stick with a seasonal colour theme such as red and green, gold, or silver.
Hang a bare branch with small baubles or coloured stars. You could even string your 'Christmas tree' with coloured lights.
Write a list of all of the things that make you think of the holiday season and use these points are markers for your theme.

Take the Party Outdoors

Take advantage of the warm summer sun and hold your Christmas party outdoors. If you're holding a small, casual function, you could hold your party in your own backyard. However, if you're catering for a work function or inviting a large number of guests, consider hiring an outdoor venue with a view, or holding your function in a public park or on a beachfront. Atmosphere is important: holding your Christmas function will set the perfect mood of fun, relaxation, and frivolity.

You could have a cocktail function under strings of lanterns between trees; a dismantled picnic dinner by the ocean; or even a seated meal on a sprawling lawn. Your choice of venue will be determined by the number of guests you invite, as well as the level of formality of your Christmas party. Search for an outdoor venue that best suits your needs.

Christmas isn't only about giving: it's about enjoying time with your family, friends, and colleagues as the year winds to a close. Hire a professional catering service to take some of the pressure of organising your Christmastime function from your shoulders. A catering company will be able to assist you in planning a menu, as well as theming your function with seasonal cheer. Remember, though, that the summer months are busiest for local caterers: it's time to make your plans and book your caterer now. Let an experienced caterer take over the preparation and service of your meals: sit back, have a Christmas cocktail, and enjoy the company of your family and friends, and have a merry Christmas!