Your stress free guide to Christmas
Our annual Celebrate issue will bring you plenty of Christmas cheer and guarantee a fuss-free day for you and your guests, allowing everyone to get carried away with the spirit of the season. Not only have we created four fabulous Christmas Day menus for you with a step-by-step planner for each, there are treats to make and give your loved ones, yuletide baking, decorating tips and more.
Timeless traditions- The delicious aroma of a golden roasted turkey makes it the jewel of the festive table. This classic menu features turkey alongside roasted vegetables and contemporary answer to stuffing: sage and prosciutto corn cakes. The crowning glory is a classic-cloth wrapped Christmas pudding.
Family favourite- Let the house fill with cheerful chatter and laugher as you enjoy a menu of maple-glazed ham, greens with crispy sage butter and potato and pancetta gratins. And enjoy a new Christmas tradition with a glam take on trifle and its generously soaked sponge, fresh berries and lashings of cream.
Cool yule- The clink of ice-filled glasses whets appetites on a casual Christmas day. Indulge in fresh oysters and prawns and a main event of lemon, garlic and parsley grilled lobster in this seafood menu. Round off this decadent feast with a heavenly and light-as-a-feather coconut and raspberry angel food cake.
Modern chic- Take a laidback approach with our crowd-pleasing roasted pork menu. Accompanied by cinnamon-spiked apples, a crisp fennel and pear salad and mouth-watering crunchy roasted potatoes (as well as crispy crackling!), it's sure to raise a round of applause. Cool semifreddo Christmas puddings make a fabulous do-ahead dessert everyone will have room for.
Top 10 tips for planning the perfect Christmas
Plan ahead- if you're serving the classic menu with all the trimmings, cook the pudding (or the Christmas fruit cake) up to two months ahead and store in the fridge to reheat on the day.
On the menu- don't feel pressured to serve an entrée, main and dessert. Keep things relaxed and casual with a main, sides and a dessert. You'll have more time to spend with the ones you love.
Size matters- save yourself the embarrassment on the day and make sure your bird fits in the oven. Measure from the bottom shelf to the top, as well as the baking dish.
Cook's tip- an alternative to cooking the turkey in an oven is to cook it on a covered barbecue. You can also cook trays of vegetables on the barbecue if they don't' all fit in the oven at once with the bird.
Short cuts- instead of roasting a whole turkey cook a deboned turkey breast. You'll virtually halve your cooking and prep time, have more room in your oven an it's much easier to carve.
Cheat's eat- you can bake mini Christmas cakes or puddings in mini muffin tins the day before. If your guests don't have room for dessert, they can take their individual pudding home.
Shop smart- order ham or turkey from the butcher 3-4 weeks before Christmas and order any seafood from the fishmonger 2 weeks before the day. Buy any dry goods a week in advance and then fresh ingredients a few days before.
On the table- count your water tumblers, wine glasses, champagne flutes, not to mention your crockery and cutlery a week in advance. If you don't have enough to go around, at least there's time to beg, steal or borrow from family and friends!
Side show- big platters of mixed vegetables allow guest to serve themselves at leisure. And an easier way to cook stuffing is outside the turkey.
On the day- relax, take a deep breath and enjoy yourself. And when kind guests volunteer their help, don't hesitate to say yes!
Donna Hay's new cookbook Seasons is out now. This gorgeous book contains an entire year of beautiful seasonal recipes. It's full of fresh, simple, special and inspiring ides for all occasions www.femail.com.au/donna-hay-seasons.htm
Donna Hay Magazine Christmas Cheer