Christmas dinner on a budget
This post is sponsored by Woolworths
Hosting Christmas dinner can be expensive, especially when feeding a crowd. Fortunately, with a little planning Christmas dinner can be done on a budget, while still impressing family and friends.
The following tips will help you create an amazing meal to celebrate Christmas with the people that matter most. There is even a done-for-you meal plan at the end, to not only save you money but also time in the lead up to the big day.
Tips for keeping Christmas dinner under budget
Set a budget, and stick to it
Before you even begin to make a shopping list, set a budget, and don’t stray from it. The budget will help you determine what food is worth splurging on, and the areas you can skimp a little.
When setting your budget, don’t forget to consider the amount of people you will be hosting. Work out the dollar amount you can comfortably afford, and work backwards from there.
Making a list before hitting the supermarket
Hitting the supermarket without a shopping list is a recipe for budget disaster. You will end up just guessing what you need for the festive season, and could end up with a pile of food you didn’t actually need. It’s the quickest way to blow the Christmas budget.
Spend a little time planning the meals you will be preparing, and the ingredients you need to make those meals. Add those items to your shopping list, and be sure to only add the items on your list to the trolley.
When writing your shopping list, don’t forget to add snacks and drinks, along with the basic ingredients to prepare meals.
Adding a few items to the trolley each week
Spread the Christmas food bill across a few weeks by adding a few items to the trolley, each time you do a grocery shop.
Planning ahead will make your final grocery trip before Christmas far more manageable.
Also, look out for the Woolworths range of food products, as the products in the Christmas range are great value without compromising on taste or quality
Ask everyone to contribute
While you might be hosting Christmas, it really is a celebration for the whole family. Asking everyone to bring a dish will help lighten the load, both cost and time wise.
Provide plenty of nibbles
Keep plenty of nibbles on the Christmas table throughout the day. Christmas is all about eating delicious food, after all, but providing plenty of inexpensive nibbles will lessen the amount of food that will need to be provided for lunch and dinner.
Platters are perfect for Christmas day snacking in between meals. Cheese platters are perfect for the adults, and kids always go crazy for colourful fruit platters.
Budget friendly meal ideas
If there is any part of Christmas dinner that is sure to blow to budget, it’s the meat portion of dinner. It’s no secret that meat can be expensive, especially when feeding a crowd.
The best way to keep the meat portion of the budget in check without compromising on your favourite Christmas meat, is to mix expensive meats with cheaper cuts.
For example, no one wants to go without their Christmas ham, so don’t cut that from the grocery list. But rather than serving the ham with turkey and other expensive meats, serve ham alongside a few whole roasted chickens.
Ham can be a great budget friendly option. Sure, it might seem like a big outlay, but per kg ham is a great option, and it’s perfect for feeding a crowd. You can go for the Woolworths Half Leg Ham, which is only $9 a kilo. Any leftover ham can be frozen for use at a later date.
When choosing a ham, find a ham that’s going to be the hero of your Christmas dinner, and the decadent Gold Triple Smoked ham from Woolworths is a showstopper.
Once the meats are sorted, think of some filling side dishes and salads to bulk up the meal. Making the meal more about the salads and sides and less about meat will cut the budget significantly.
Choose sides that include plenty of fresh, in season produce. I like to serve both hot and cold side dishes, like a potato bake or golden roast potatoes alongside a few salads.
Fresh mini bread rolls also make a great addition to any Christmas lunch or dinner.
If there is any part of Christmas dinner that’s worth splurging on, it’s the desserts. It’s worth allocating a little extra of your Christmas day budget to desserts because they are always the most anticipated part of the meal.
Pies, trifles and puddings are always great for Christmas day, and are perfect when entertaining a crowd. Set them out on the table buffet style and let everyone choose their favourites, or have a little of each.
Preparing desserts can be the most time consuming part of a Christmas meal, so if there is anything you can buy pre prepared, make it dessert.
Woolworths has an amazing range of Christmas desserts in store. I have already tried the Gold Lemon Meringue Pie, the Gold Dulce De Leche Trifle (only $20 and serves 10 guests), and the Gold Espresso Martini Flavoured Pudding, and they are all delicious.
The Gold Espresso Martini Pudding is so pretty it’s one to prepare in front of your guests (on special this week for $10 until 17 December). You steam or microwave the pudding, then invert it onto a plate, drizzle with the included espresso martini sauce and sprinkle with the edible gold dust. It’s a very impressive Christmas dessert!
Christmas Day meal plan
Follow the below meal plan for a fool-proof, budget friendly Christmas dinner.
Nibbles and snacks:
In season fruit platter
Potato bake or roasted potatoes
Mini bread rolls