Christmas has always been my favourite holiday – it is a time for all the people you love most to come together, to eat and drink, and be generally merry.
Since I am going to be in India for that actual day, Christmas has moved forward a month (obviously we had to formally apply for this concession with Santa, but as we all know, he is a very accommodating fellow once bribed with milk and cookies). I have always believed that you choose your family. So, whilst we are still having the traditional christmas lunch with my beloved relations, this year I chose to host Christmas lunch with my other family: the ridiculous, irrepressible, extraordinary group of humans who have put up with me for the last 10 years.
So, one month early we invited everyone around to our place to party like it was December 25.
In total, the lunch cost about $25 a head – I considered this very reasonable considering we had enough food to fell an ox. I had accepted that this was going to be a bit of a splurge, but if you are going to do it, do it right.
However, I was still conscious of keeping the cost as low as possible, and as such here are my 5 tips for keeping down your Christmas cost:
- Hit up the markets: We got all our vegetables, salad, and berries for $42.15. If we were to buy the same quantity from Woolworths it would have been $61.07. Likewise, the seafood was about $10 cheaper, significantly fresher, and of better quality.
- Serve a big main dish, rather than individual dishes: We cooked up a 2kg leg of lamb on the BBQ, carved it up and served it with a buffet of roast vegetables. If we had served individual lamb racks instead, everyone would have got the same quantity of lamb, however it would have meant significantly more time in the kitchen for me and would have cost us $70 more.
- Beg, borrow, and steal: I am lucky that my mum has a well stocked herb garden – “borrowing” some cheeky rosemary cuttings saved me $10. We also borrowed almost all the decorations, saving us much moneys.
- BYO: We served a Bellini at the start of the day – adding the peach puree meant we could get away with a cheaper bottle of sparkling. For the rest of the booze, we asked our friends to bring their own – this saved us a bundle as well as saving me a headache as I tried to pick a neutral beer and wine that everyone would like.
- Remember your left overs: One of our guests is not the biggest fan of seafood, so we decided to serve up some Christmas ham. We bought a whole leg of ham, which was a little pricy, however, we only served about 1/4 of it. Our shopping bill for the next week was only $30, because we were able to make all our lunches and one of our dinners using the remaining ham.
We love our bread. We love our butter. But most of all, we love each other.