Tips for an Affordable Christmas Feast
“A perfectly managed Christmas correct in every detail is, like basted inside seams and letters answered by return, a sure sign of someone who hasn’t enough to do.” Katharine Whitehorn 1928 -
Do you find the thought of Christmas food overwhelming – not only because it all seems a bit much but also because it can hit you hard in the pocket? We’ve come up with some tips to help you not only eat well but also eat well without the budget getting away on you.
1. Vegetables are your friend
• Per mouthful they tend to be significantly cheaper than meat / fish / chicken.
• They taste great
• They give you lots of colour and texture
• They make great leftovers
Offer a wide range of both hot and cold vegetable dishes and salads. And yes, it is fine for one of those dishes to be a great big gorgeous bowl of bright green frozen peas you bought on special a few weeks ago. With varying coloured vegetables you can arrange them to look like Christmas icons, the key is to make them look stunning so they become the star of the show.
2. Shop in advance
It is no secret prices go through the roof just before Christmas. If you can buy fresh produce a bit before Christmas it will be cheaper. Not possible for everything, we know, but if you can get super fresh vegetables the weekend before Christmas many of them like; capsicums, cucumber, tomatoes, cabbage (for coleslaw), potatoes, carrots will be fine if stored properly.
3. Don’t be afraid to use the freezer
You can often get whole fresh or frozen chickens on special, a beautifully cooked chicken with stuffing is just as much a treat as a turkey. Click here for a roast chicken recipe.
Frozen vegetables are also a great option – peas and green beans are particularly good.
4. Check your cupboards
Have a good look through your pantry and fridge there may well be many half eaten packets and jars that can be utilised for Christmas, remember to check the use by date. Particularly pickles and chutneys to go with both hot and cold meats, dried fruit to be used in salads and desserts, frozen bread which can be used for stuffing and probably many other treasures. The other way to use what’s in the fridge and pantry is to do a $21 challenge leading up to Christmas leaving you with more to spend at Christmas.
This really may be stating the obvious but if you plan your menu well in advance and stick to it you can spread the task and buy shelf stable foods well in advance of Christmas as they come on special. In our book it is never too early to start planning a feast.
6. Share the load
Again stating the obvious but don’t hesitate to take up the offer when someone asks what they can bring. You’re probably going to get stuck with the dishes if you’re hosting Christmas dinner so you really need to spread the load when it comes to meal preparation.
7. Stick to the tried and true
By all means have the odd experiment with that new recipe that looks fabulous, but on the whole stick with recipes you know work and you know will be eaten. Wasting food is wasting money and time.
8. Make the table look beautiful
Make Christmas dinner about the eyes and the soul as well. With very little money and a lot of imagination you can get away with a very simple meal on a beautiful table. Here are some beautiful ideas.
We hope these tips help you have an enjoyable, affordable Christmas feast. Happy Christmas.