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Tips for stress-free Christmas entertaining

Get organised this festive season using a Christmas plan to make celebrations stress-free.

Prep to Ease Christmas Stress

Tick off anything you can do beforehand and create a kitchen ‘running order’ to highlight jobs that need to be done on the day and when they need to be completed by, working backwards from when you plan to serve up.

Try these Christmas Tips

Here are a few things you can prep early.
  • Potatoes - Parboil potatoes or peel and place in a bowl of cold water for roasting the next day.
  • Prawns - Peel prawns a few hours before serving and store, covered, in the fridge.
  • Veggies - Blanch beans and other veggies up to 1 day ahead, then store in a container in the fridge.
Prawn and watermelon salad

Keep it Fresh

Christmas planning always involves seafood. When you go to buy it, take a cooler bag and ice packs. When you get home, remove any packaging, place seafood on a plate and cover with a damp paper towel. Wrap the plate in plastic wrap and store in the coolest part of the fridge.

Air Fry Your Pork

Place your pork roast, uncovered, in the fridge overnight. Bring to room temperature then pat dry with paper towel. Score the rind with a small sharp knife. Rub 1 tbs oil over the rind, sprinkle with 1 tsp sea salt flakes and rub salt into the cuts. Preheat the air fryer to 180ºC. Place pork, rind-side up, in the air fryer. Cook for 20 mins per 500g. Increase temperature to 200ºC for a further 10 mins and – voila! – crisp crackling.

TIP: Free up oven space on Christmas Day by cooking sides in the air fryer. It turns out perfect golden spuds.

Pick Your Christmas Catering Star

Simple is best when serving up a feast. Coles ambassador Courtney Roulston recommends choosing a single hero for the meal. “Picking one protein means you can concentrate on cooking it perfectly and match it with a couple of different sides,” she says. If you’re doing a ham, try Courtney’s Spiced Apple Maple Ham Glaze.

Set Up a Bar Outside

Keep guests happy, hydrated and out of the kitchen by setting up a drinks table outside. Load a bucket with ice, then fill it with alcoholic and non-alcoholic options. For a refreshing non-alcoholic punch, try our cucumber, lime and basil spritz.

Cook Pavlova in the Air Fryer

Free up space in the oven by air frying your pavlova base. Line the basket of an air fryer with baking paper (we used a 5L-capacity air fryer). Use an electric mixer to whisk 4 egg whites in a clean, dry bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1 cup (220g) caster sugar, 1 tbs at a time, whisking until mixture is thick and glossy and sugar completely dissolves. Whisk in 1 tsp cornflour, 1 tsp white vinegar and 1 tsp vanilla essence. Preheat air fryer to 100ºC. Spoon mixture into lined basket and shape into a disc. Cook for 1 1/4 hours (don’t open the air fryer during cooking). Open the air fryer slightly and leave the pav inside for at least 1 hour so it cools slowly. Serve with your favourite toppings.

Cater Correctly

Not sure how much to buy? Take a waste-wise approach with our guide to the amount of festive food you need per person.

  • Prawns (unpeeled)  - 200g
  • Oysters - 3
  • Seafood sauce - 1/4 cup
  • Bread rolls  - 1–2
  • Salad - 1 cup
  • Desserts - 2 small pieces
  • Canapés - 4 bites
  • Gravy - 1/4 cup

The Coles Pavlova. Award-winning any way you slice it.

While everyone loves a pav, don't just settle for any old one. Ours is offically the most satisfying.

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Choose the Right-sized Main

Follow our guide for the perfectly sized ham or turkey for your get together. For tips on everything from prep to carving, check out our ultimate guide to Christmas turkeys.

TURKEY                      Small                                Medium                 Large                           Extra large

                                    (3–4kg)                   (4–5kg)            (5–6kg)              (6–7kg)

Serves                            6–8                         8–10               10–12                 12–14

Cooking time                  2 3/4 hours             3 hours            3 1/2 hours        3 3/4 hours


HAM                                        Half leg                               Full leg

Weight                          4 – 6.5kg                                       7 – 10kg

Serves                          16 – 22                                           25–35

To store your ham, combine 4 cups (1L) water and 2 tbs vinegar in a bowl. Soak a clean tea towel in the mixture. Wring out excess liquid, then cover ham and store in the fridge. Repeat the soaking process every few days.