8 Expert Tips for Hosting Christmas (or any other big feast!)

8 Expert Tips for Hosting Christmas (or any other big feast!)

Staying calm in the eye of the storm is essential to chilled Christmas feasting. Here are my top tips to be ready to keep everyone happy, including you!

Hosting Christmas (or any other big meal) is inescapably crazy. I did it for years. Thankfully the baton has been passed (mostly) and I get to contribute now rather than being the sole orchestra director!

Here are some of my top tips for getting the job done so that you are still sane at the end, well fed, and organised without sheer exhaustion.


The best advice I can give is to stay on top of this year round. I like to clean my fridge out on Monday mornings if I can. It doesn't take long if you do it regularly. If this doesn't happen at yours, make sure you at least clean it out before Christmas. Then reserve a shelf for everything you need for the one meal. There is nothing worse than finding the chives your forgot to add to the potato salad or the special dressing you created for the ham, unused, the next day. Even if it takes multiple shelves, the idea is to create a dedicated place for everything you plan to serve. (Oh and label everything...just in case you need to direct someone else to get something for you.)

Join the Shelf Control Course

And get a handle on your fridge and pantry year round


Of course planning a menu is very personal and will alter based on your guest list. (Check dietary restrictions well in advance.)

Then prepping in advance so that your dishes are 90% there is the pro way to go. If you are making sturdy salads like potato or rice salad for example, these can be cooked in advance and simply assembled on the day.

Make your gravy the day before, the stuffing, glaze the ham or even make the mashed potatoes. (The secret to reheating mash is more butter of course!)

Our Menu Planner is part of the Insider Club free trial


Ask people who are coming to sign up for a dish, send them the recipe and the number of people it needs to feed. Most people want to contribute and fully expect to help for big occasions like Christmas. If you know they won't cook to your expectations, get them to bring drinks, or a cheeseboard that you can zhush if you need to!


I highly recommend a self serve drinks station. This can be a bar with mixers you have made in advance, a fridge for help yourself, plenty of ice, a bucket of cans, bottled drinks etc. It will really be determined by the style of occasion you are hosting, but if everyone can sort themselves out with drinks, (and help others to do so) that will take a big load off your host responsibilities. (Plus you can keep yourself topped up too, just saying.)

It is a good idea to have extra serviettes, silverware or glassware or anything else you think your guests may need, near the drinks station as well as place to put the rubbish if needed.


Check that you have all the equipment you need for the recipes on your menu way in advance. It can be handy to top up your spatula or bread mat count before a big occasion like Christmas.

Set your table one or two days before the event. Get out all your serving dishes and utensils as well, just double check that you have everything you need. Then you have time to pick up something if it's necessary or ask someone else to bring it.

Make sure you also have enough containers that you don't mind never seeing again (I buy disposables) so you can send leftovers home with everyone.

Top up on all your gadgets

Get your extra spatulas and breadmats


There is nothing worse than having the perfect set up, ready to go...guests arriving and you go to the pantry to get the extra mustard for the dressing and....duoh. Not there, got used last weekend and you have no mustard for that perfect salad vinaigrette and no one has time to dash to the shops at this point. Not a complete train wreck, but it can just set you on the back foot.

So write the list way in advance, double check your pantry and get an extra whatever if you think you will be using it anyway.

Problem solvered, before it happens.


Get your salt now!

Never run out of pink salt flakes with our caterers pack!

Regardless of your personal preferences, always make sure there is salt and pepper available on the table. It isn't a big thing, but it just means your guests don't need to be embarrassed to ask for it. I personally HATE it when people salt their food without tasting it first as of course, I pride myself on precise seasoning, but there will always be someone who needs extra salt...don't take it personally. (Just don't invite them to dinner again! hahaha).


It is always good to have a little chill music in the background, especially as the first guests arrive. There is nothing more awkward than silence. So get the party started with something you don't have to think about through the rest of the occasion, just have it on repeat.

At Christmas time I like to have instrumental carols playing, the words get kind of annoying, but go with what suits you and your guests.

We really do have ALL the recipes and tips and tricks you need for great entertaining on the Insider Club.

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Tenina Holder

Tenina Holder is a wife, mother of five and grandmother of six, who started cooking in the olden days before Thermomix was even a thing.

Tenina has become the premium go to source for all Thermomix expertise and of course fresh and easy recipes that work. Her cooking classes and foodie trips are sold out in literally hours, her cookbooks appear on the Australian best seller lists and her social reach is in the millions. Her Insider Club is the most fun you can have with a Thermomix and you really should join her! She believes chocolate, butter and salt are health foods. Her food positivity mantra is, eat everything, just not all at once!

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