By Lucy White
Unlike most people in Australia, I always have a ‘white Christmas’ (mainly because it’s my last name), but having a Christmas by the fireplace with carols about the cold is easy for everyone if you have Christmas in July.
My aunt is famous in our family for hosting amazing July Christmas parties (sometimes hosting up to 3 or 4 in the one month), so I’ve been paying close attention. These are my tips for hosting the best Christmas in July you can!
FOOD AND DRINK
Unlike a ‘normal’ Australian Christmas where you might have cold cuts, fruit salad and about 12kgs of prawns (or is that just my family?), Christmas in July allows you to try your hand at cooking a more traditional Christmas feast – think roast goose with cranberry sauce and all types of delicious roast vegetables.
Of course, roasting a goose/turkey/insert-other-animals-here can take a lot of time, so you might like to try something a little simpler. That simple thing is asking all of your guests to bring a dish of their own and having a bit of a buffet. If you’re good at organising things in advance you can have one group responsible for salads, someone else responsible for a potato bake, and then the all-important dessert could be yours!
Dessert-wise, everything’s up to you. You can get super creative with a Yule log cake, or keep it simple with some roasted chestnuts (the open fire is optional).
As for beverages, you’re welcome to stick to the traditional Aussie dinner party with some beer and wine, or you can go the extra mile with some delicious mulled wine.
It’s Christmas, so naturally you want to surround yourself with people you love and have fun with. If Christmas in December is traditionally a familial affair, then Christmas in July should be all about your chosen family. Invite your friends around for a night of delicious food, presents, and general merriment.
Naturally you can really invite anyone you want, family included, but it’s always nice to recognise the people that you choose to surround yourself with, as well as the ones you’re related to. Christmas in July can be a perfect way to celebrate friendships, families, and even mix the two together.
You can go all-out and set up the Christmas tree, lights, the whole shebang if you really want to decorate the house in style. Or, if you’re like me (i.e. lazy), you might just want to brighten the place up a bit with some tinsel and festive table decorations.
If you find you have time on your hands, you may even like to try baking some decorative gingerbread. I especially like this decoration as it is the easiest one to pack up after the festivities – and it’s really tasty, too.
Because it’s Christmas (sort of), presents can be included. Whether you want to go all out and get something for everyone, or keep it simple with some Secret Santa, the choice is yours. If you want to get creative – try setting a $10 - $20 limit and ask everyone to find a ridiculous present. Have a game of White Elephant/ Yankee Swap to ‘steal’ gifts from each other see who ends up with the silliest gift!
This is all about fun, though, so ensure that everyone understands it is a light-hearted game, and not one to be taken too seriously. This is why all the presents should be silly, fun, and not too expensive (that means no Michael-Scott-iPod-fiascos this year). Think plastic fruit, fridge magnets, or even tea in the shape of famous people.
Post-presents, everyone might be just drunk enough to engage in a round of Christmas carols, be they traditional, foreign language, or an old Australian favourite (who doesn’t love Six White Boomers). Find your cheesiest Christmas album, pop it in the CD player, and let the good times roll!